Fiscal woes to take toll on Turnpike traffic flow
November 24, 2008 6:00 AM
By Steve Urbon
NEW BEDFORD — If you are traveling by car this Thanksgiving, especially if your trip will take you on the Massachusetts Turnpike, you might want to leave as soon as you finish reading this.
Tuesday, said Holly Sutherland of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, is no longer the easy traveling day that it once was. Better to leave at daybreak on Thanksgiving, and certainly not after 10 a.m. on the big day.
We haven't yet mentioned Wednesday. So here's the word:
"We're basically asking people not to try to travel during Wednesday," Ms. Sutherland said.
But that won't change the fact that many people will. The Pike will be jammed "just about all day on Wednesday," she said.
Those people will almost certainly enjoy an hours-long look at the bare-trees scenery approaching the tolls at Exit 9, which connects the Pike to I-84 in Sturbridge. The Turnpike Authority is strapped for cash, and there is no intention to clear the bottleneck by allowing motorists to use Exit 9 for free.
Asked about the policy in previous years to allow the state police to waive those tolls at their discretion, Ms. Sutherland took a lengthy pause and said, "Only in an emergency." And it is not an emergency if it takes people an extra three hours to get to Connecticut...