Massachusetts Port Authority officials and representatives from the City of Chelsea have reached an agreement to improve safety off of the Tobin Bridge's Beacon Street Ramp by banning heavy truck traffic and studying long-term solutions for commercial truck access to and from the local businesses.
"Public safety has to be priority number one, said City Manager Jay Ash. "By closing the Beacon Street off-ramp permanently to heavy truck traffic, local residents can finally have their safety assured.
"This is great news for the people of Chelsea. The Beacon Street off-ramp was going to continue to be the site of tragedies, said Representative Eugene O'Flaherty. "The seriousness of the problem has demanded our immediate solution.
Beginning Friday, June 1, 2001 at 10:00PM the ramp will be closed to all traffic for approximately two weeks while Massport, City of Chelsea, and state transportation officials discuss various options for permitting heavy trucks to service the many commercial entities that rely on moving their goods and produce. The meetings will focus on finding an alternative to the Beacon Street off-ramp. Officials also will continue discussions to enhance safety on and off of the Tobin Bridge.
Following the approximately two-week period, the ramp will be reopened to cars, buses, and light trucks, but remain closed to heavy trucks.
"By working together, we have a solution that puts the lives and safety of local residents first, said Virginia Buckingham, Massport Executive Director and CEO. "I credit City Manager Jay Ash and Representative Eugene O'Flaherty for their leadership and commitment to safety.
Last year, at the request of Chelsea officials, Massport installed flashing signs at and before the Beacon Street off-ramp alerting drivers to test their brakes. In addition, State Police, stationed on the bridge 24 hours a day, had been augmented by a State Police Truck Team comprised of Massport's State Police Troop F and the MassPike's Troop E. The unit randomly checks trucks to conduct brake tests and measure their weight. The increased enforcement has resulted in more than $77,000 in fines and deterred truck drivers from speeding.