Accelerating MassDOT Project Delivery

HUDSON – The project delivery process involves the development, implementation and maintenance of a road, bridge or transit project throughout the asset’s useful life, managing multiple planning, design and construction issues along the way.  

Right now, the average time to deliver a road or bridge project owned by the Commonwealth is taking seven to 10-plus years – completely unacceptable when one considers how important a safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation network is to Massachusetts and to our economy.

Over 15 years ago, I started my political career calling for drastic reform at our transportation agencies, including the acceleration of all Route 2 reconstruction projects. My first job working for MassHighway was on a mega-project in Worcester whose total budget exceeded Rhode Island’s annual appropriation for snow and ice.

Bringing performance-based management, improved roadway maintenance and on-time project delivery – while reforming the state agencies involved in road, bridge and MBTA jobs – is central to our economic recovery and to my 2012 state Senate campaign. I’ve already participated in this important reform work at MassDOT, and in the private sector, and I will use those experiences to get improved results for our communities.

We know some of the reasons that state jobs are coming in over budget and taking twice as long: environmental permitting, lack of coordination with utility companies and municipalities, poor procurement procedures, faulty design plans and incompetent project management.  

At the local level, town departments cannot find the cheapest contractors to do even the simplest of painting jobs because of the over restrictive Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law.

Unlike my opponent, Jamie Eldridge, who needs to “study the issue” and get back to the Northborough Board of Selectmen (by the end of April), I can unequivocally say today that I will immediately file legislation next year to exempt local projects of $100,000 or less from prevailing wage restrictions.

In Hudson, the Houghton Street Bridge has sat idle and been closed inexplicably for over eight years. Now that MassDOT has begun work on the Washington Street Bridge, the past failures of the department with project delivery are coming back into focus, since Houghton is an important feeder road in proximity to the town’s downtown business district.

On March 26, at a recent Hudson selectmen’s meeting, state Rep. Kate Hogan, D-Stow, recounted how she meets with MassDOT every six months to review projects. Well, that’s great, but this is pretty underwhelming to say the least. As state senator, I’ll do much more than bi-annual check-ins with the MassDOT District 3 and 4 offices in Worcester and Arlington, respectively.  

Having worked at both locations, with multiple district highway directors and their staffs, I’ll go to work with officials on a tangible plan to speed up all state road, bridge and transit jobs, in all phases of development for every single project impacting my 14 communities.

Dean Cavaretta

(R) Candidate for State Senate

Middlesex & Worcester District

Read more: Letter to the Editor: Most state road and bridge jobs take years to finish – Hudson, MA – Hudson Sun…

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