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editorial

Epic 45-mile traffic backup should prompt Pike changes

Little in day-to-day life is more frustrating than being stuck an endless traffic jam. But that was the situation for westbound travelers on the Massachusetts Turnpike on Friday afternoon. Traffic backed up in Sturbridge, where the Pike connects with Interstate 84, causing an astounding 45-mile slowdown.

Traffic volume on long weekends always presents challenges. But that’s precisely why Bay State transportation officials need to show more foresight in anticipating problems and greater urgency in responding when they occur. Massachusetts hasn’t been as aggressive as neighboring states in tackling slowdowns caused at least in part by toll plazas. State officials, in response, offer a now-familiar litany of laments. The narrowness of the Pike itself. The fiscal pressures on MassDOT. The long time needed to make roadway changes happen.

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