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WTS-Boston September Luncheon Article

WTS-Boston September Luncheon

Written By: Tricia Pinto, Sanborn Head

Over 200 people were in attendance on September 27, 2017 as WTS-Boston welcomed a panel of the MassDOT District Highway Directors to hear about recent activities within the Districts.  Jonathan Gulliver, Highway Administrator for MassDOT, moderated the panel.  During the discussion, audience members learned about the somewhat unique challenges that each of the Districts is facing and gained valuable insight related to how projects are prioritized, emergency preparedness, and how technology is positively impacting the Districts.

Patrick Paul, District 2 Highway Director, spoke about some of the geographic differences within the districts.  While the Districts are organized in a similar fashion, Paul explained that each has a unique geography to consider.  This could be related to how urban or rural the District is or due to coastal concerns that are more unique to certain areas of the Commonwealth.  Francisca Heming, District 1 Highway Director, spoke about the District responsibilities to municipalities, and in particular the role of providing support and guidance to stakeholders within each region.

District 4 Highway Director Paul Stedman spoke about how the districts prioritize projects and the balance of funding projects that keep assets in a state of good repair, projects that modernize infrastructure, perhaps to meet new safety requirements, and expansion projects.  Paul explained that some projects are funded through a non-federal aid program, while others are federally funded.  The projects may be related to bridges, pavement or night focus on improving high crash areas.

As District 5 Highway Director, Mary-Joe Perry takes emergency preparedness very seriously as many of the cities and towns in her district are located in higher storm areas like Cape Cod and the islands.  Mary-Joe described how all of the Districts use an extensive program for responding to emergencies with different categories that establish the level of the response.  The districts do annual exercises to train for emergency situations, and road cameras and weather stations are used to enhance the effectiveness of emergency response actions.

Finally, Barry Lorion, Acting District 3 Highway Director, talked about how technology is improving communication and work efficiencies at MassDOT.  In particular, increasing use of social media as a method to get people information when they need it has enhanced the level of communication with the community.  The all electronic tolling project is also an excellent example of how MassDOT is using innovative technologies to improve work efficiencies and to enhance the experience of users.

Thank you to the moderator and panelists for speaking with WTS-Boston.  It was an interesting and informative program!



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