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Congestion has been frequent at Exit 27 (Winter Street) off Route 128 in Waltham. It was among 10 local road and bridge projects postponed last year because of a shortfall in funding.
Congestion has been frequent at Exit 27 (Winter Street) off Route 128 in Waltham. It was among 10 local road and bridge projects postponed last year because of a shortfall in funding. (For The Boston Globe Photo / Jodi Hilton)
STARTS & STOPS

Halted construction congests Route 128

Congestion has been frequent at Exit 27 (Winter Street) off Route 128 in Waltham. It was among 10 local road and bridge projects postponed last year because of a shortfall in funding. (Jodi Hilton for The Boston Globe)

For anyone who uses or even passes by the Winter Street exit off Route 128 South in Waltham, time is standing very still. And so is traffic.

"Over a year ago the state started reconfiguring the exit ramps and then everything stopped," wrote Kevin of Hudson, N.H., who said he was told the construction company had gone out of business before completing the job.

"Now that the old Polaroid complex is open for business [with 300,000 square feet of office space], more cars are getting off at Winter Street. It now takes a good 20 minutes to get from the Trapelo Road exit to Winter Street, with one lane of traffic from Trapelo Road to Winter Street filled with vehicles lined up to get off the exit."

Robin of Watertown said morning traffic backups here are insane. She said the problems are compounded by the traffic lights on Winter Street, and she asked for adjustments to their timing.

Susan of Tewksbury said the stalled traffic backs up Route 128 to Burlington. "All construction has ceased, leaving a long line of cars trying to get off the highway," she wrote. "No radio station ever reports this backup, perhaps because it has become a permanent feature. Can you find out why the construction has stopped and a planned date to resume and finish the job?"

Mike of Arlington wrote: "This begs the larger question of why is it that construction projects seem to sit and sit . . . and sit . . . for months on end in this state, where in other parts of the country construction projects are designed, implemented, and over before a shovel full of dirt is moved here!"

Here's the skinny. The $21 million project was awarded to Roads Construction way back in 2004 and construction began about a year later. Roads Construction, however, "didn't have the resources to complete the project" and was terminated, said Erik Abell, spokesman for the Executive Office of Transportation.

The bonding company hired an interim contractor, Bridge Construction Co., to help with emergency repairs while the state waited to resume the project, in part because of money issues. Last year, 10 local road and bridge projects, including Winter Street, were postponed because of a 20 percent shortfall in federal transportation funding.

Moving utilities also caused delays, but that work should be done in the next few weeks, Abell said, allowing work to begin on the bridge that carries Winter Street over 128. During bridge construction, the number of lanes flowing over the bridge will drop to two, so there could be even more road jams.

As for the traffic problems around the area, Abell wrote that the state has "explored several traffic management options for this project" and tweaked the timing of the lights a few times.

McCourt Construction was selected as the new contractor by the bonding company a few weeks ago and is preparing to begin work early next month, weather permitting.

Bad name
Hallie of Cambridge was at Logan International Airport last month after the big snowstorm, waiting around when she began noticing things that tend to escape the average air traveler's attention, she said.

"Prime among these was the station ID for the airport's radio network: periodically a deep voice comes on and identifies the network as 'Terminal Velocity Radio.' "

"Forgive me, but isn't 'terminal velocity' the speed that a falling object reaches just before it crashes into the ground? And if so, who at Massport thought that this would be a clever name for their in-house provider of bland pop music?"

Danny Levy, Massport spokeswoman, said the smooth sounds are also called Logan Radio. "We prefer Logan Radio," she wrote, adding that the Terminal Velocity name was a working title that's likely to change.

"For the most part the responses have been overwhelmingly positive," Levy said. "Customers had historically provided comments requesting that we improve the clarity of the public address system at the airport. This system we now provided has been enhanced by the music. As for the name, it was a working title. As always, we appreciate passenger feedback."

Owed money
Michelle of parts unknown called to say that she is owed $9.10 "after constant calling and e-mailing" of the MBTA about a delayed refund.

Ann of Dorchester said a Charlie vending machine ate her $10. She complained four times and no one from the T responded, let alone gave her money back. "Where can I go with this? Does any government official regulate these people? It's a disgrace," she wrote .

Tom of Scituate also wrote about those $1.25 on-time guaranteed refunds the MBTA was giving out after the Jan. 1 fare hike, when the base price of riding the subway was $1.70.

"I thought the T was sending letters to the customers impacted by the mix-up, but I never received anything . . . Any help would be great and keep up the good work."

We sent all three complaints to the MBTA, and Jack McLaughlin, director of systemwide modernization, called us back, promising to look into each one. He did.

Michelle's complaint and e - mails couldn't be found, but the T was giving her a call.

MBTA records show Ann 's incident occurred , but M cLaughlin said they had no record of her complaint. Still, "we're absolutely going to take care of that because we verified it," M cLaughlin said.

As for Tom , the T is reaching out to him, too, though the T has also matched up every $1.25 refund and issued new tickets. Tom didn't match up, but the T gave him a call anyway.

We were curious why the MBTA hadn't responded to these complaints. MBTA officials said it may have been due to the transition to their new Customer Support Services Department, which now serves as the clearinghouse for all customer complaints, centralizing the role among the agency's many departments.

Can't get there . . .
Interstate 93 South will close at Exit 23 (Purchase Street) 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Wednesday morning.

I-93 South in the vicinity of Sullivan Square will close 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday. In addition, the on ramps to I-93 South from Mystic Avenue will close.

Two of four lanes of I-93 South approaching and through downtown will close 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Friday morning and 11:30 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday.

The Haymarket on ramp to I-93 South and the Callahan Tunnel will close 10 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday, and 11:30 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday.

The Storrow Drive on ramps to I-93 South will close 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday to Thursday morning and 11:30 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday.

The ramps from Tobin Bridge and Rutherford Avenue/City Square to I-93 South will close 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday.

Exit 23 (Purchase Street) off I-93 South will close 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday to Saturday morning.

The Essex Street on ramp to I-93 South will close 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Wednesday morning.

The Herald Street on ramp to I-93 South will close 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday to Saturday morning.

Two lanes of I-93 North through downtown and Charlestown will close 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Wednesday morning and Thursday to Saturday morning.

I-93 North will close to all traffic at Exit 20 (Logan/Pike/South Station) 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday.

Exit 23 (Government Center) off I-93 North will close 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday.

The Broadway on ramp to I-93 North will close 11 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday.

The Massachusetts Avenue on ramp to I-93 North will close 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday.

The Essex Street on ramp to I-93 North will close 10 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. tomorrow to Wednesday morning and Thursday to Saturday morning.

Access from South Boston to the Pike East and Logan Airport will close 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Saturday morning.

The ramp at Exit 24 (I-93) off the Pike East will close 10 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday. Access to Kneeland Street/South Station will remain open.

The on ramp from Congress St. to I-93 in South Boston, and Exit 24 (I-93) off the Pike West will close 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday.

The ramp at Exit 20 (Pike west) off I-93 North will close 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday to Friday and 10 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday. Access from Exit 20 to the Pike East and South Station will remain open.

The Frontage Road Northbound on ramp to the Pike West will close 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday to Saturday morning.

The high occupancy vehicle ramp from the Pike West to South Station will close 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Route 1A North near Logan Airport will close 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. tomorrow to Friday.

The Congress Street on ramp to I-93 South and the Pike West will close 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow to Wednesday morning.

The ramp from the Tobin Bridge and Rutherford Avenue/City Square to Storrow Drive will close 11 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday. The ramp to I-93 South will remain open.

Complain to us at starts@globe.com. Don't forget to send us your hometown. Outside the paper, the column can be found at boston.com/starts with daily updates on the Starts & Stops Blog at boston.com/starts/blog. Our mailing address is Starts & Stops, P.O. Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819.

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