By Sam Doran and Michael Norton
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
There's good news for drivers worried that Mass. Turnpike roadwork might add to the congestion on Thanksgiving eve.
After originally saying construction crews would remain on the turnpike until noon Wednesday, the Baker administration now says the crews will cease work by 5 a.m., ensuring that droves of travelers flowing in, out, and within Massachusetts on one of the busiest travel days of the year won't also have to compete with road workers.
Based on information provided by a Massachusetts Department of Transportation spokesman, the News Service at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday reported that road reconstruction work impacting traffic would continue until noon next Wednesday.
Seven hours later, at 4:30 p.m., the same spokesman left a voicemail for the News Service with an "update," saying the road work would be suspended effective at 5 a.m. Wednesday, resuming on Monday, Nov. 28.
The spokesman, Patrick Marvin, also said state officials planned, if necessary, to make adjustments if road work contributes to "travel issues" next week before the scheduled 5 a.m. shutdown of construction activities.
The road reconstruction project, which follows the demolition of toll booths no longer needed due to the launch of all-electronic tolling, may affect travel plans for some of the nearly 1 million Bay Staters expected to hit the roads next week.
Many travelers start their holiday journeys earlier in the week and the east-west toll road is a major transportation corridor.
Ongoing construction is “all the more reason for people to plan well in advance,” according to AAA Northeast spokeswoman Mary Maguire, whose organization estimated this week that close to 950,000 people from Massachusetts are expected to drive to Thanksgiving destinations, up 5.1 percent over 2015.
AAA Northeast projects that 48.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, the most travelers for this holiday since 2007.