Despite warnings of stifling traffic conditions in Boston as a result of the Democratic National Convention (DNC), reality painted a much different picture. Commuters have responded to the State’s request to stagger their work shifts, carpool, and utilize public transportation, which resulted in a marked reduction of traffic flowing to and from Boston, Massachusetts State Trooper Lt. Rod Hendrigan said.
And the trucking industry can now breathe a collective sigh of relief.
“It was probably the biggest non-event in history, which isn’t a bad thing,” said Massachusetts Motor Transportation Association (MMTA) executive director Anne Lynch. “Commuter traffic is nonexistent— there’s been so much hype surrounding the event that it must have scared commuters off the roads.”
Since Monday, MMTA received only a couple of phone calls that requested rerouting clarifications, Lynch said.
“On the feeder roads, people thought they would be congested as a result of the shutdown of I-93. That wasn’t the case— they seemed to run like clockwork,” Lynch said.
Thomas DiSilva, president of Massachusetts-based truckload carrier, Webster Trucking, concurs that the lack of commuter traffic completely negated the impact of the I-93 closure.
“Traffic has been surprisingly light. We’ve had some minor inconveniences that are almost not even worth mentioning,” DiSilva said. “I think the fear of what this [the I-93 closure] is going to be like prompted people to take vacations, and some companies had closures.”
Webster Trucking’s delivery schedule spiked before and after the convention as its customers sought to avoid expected delays during the DNC entirely, DiSilva noted.
Lt. Hendrigan credits the smooth traffic coordination during the DNC to the planning of Mass Highway in conjunction with the cooperation of commuters and truckers, noting that truckers have been very cooperative with state police.
All commercial vehicles passing along I-93 north- and southbound between the Woburn and Braintree area are required to undergo a mandatory security inspection. The checks involve drivers license, registration, shipping papers, and cargo checks. If the truck passes inspection, a dated, timed, and color-coded sticker is placed on the truck so that sentries will allow the truck into the city, Hendrigan said.
“We’ve inspected over 10,000 trucks to this point. Truckers are spectacular, they are very patriotic people by nature,” Hendrigan said. “The checks have been very quick. I’d like to thank the help of the truckers for being so patient, and working so closely with us. Everything they did went a long way toward making sure the highways are safe, and allowed the convention to run so smoothly.”