Friday, January 27, 2023

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Revamped 'NewEngland511' Aims to Reduce Congestion, Pollution

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022   

Visitors and residents of Maine count on the New England 511 website for real-time road and weather conditions, and a recent makeover could help even more people navigate their travels.

The website is now more mobile-friendly, helping drivers through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont view the fall colors. It provides links to live cameras, construction alerts and traffic warnings.

Paul Merrill, director of communications for the Maine Department of Transportation, said the website gives users a heads-up, whether they are on vacation or making their daily commute.

"You might roll out of bed and say, 'Oh, there's a tree down on the road that I take to the office. It's going to take me a little extra time to get to work,' " Merrill noted.

The website address remains the same, but because of extensive changes, current users of NewEngland511.org will have to create a new account to continue receiving email or text notifications. Merrill said the "MyTrips" alerts generated by the old website will stop on Oct. 23.

Individual alerts will now come from a system called "My 511," with the goals of alleviating not only congestion, but the air pollution that comes with it.

Merrill pointed out the site is both old and new, with links to state permits for parks as well as information on bicycling through New England and where to find electric vehicle charging stations.

"Poke around, see what features are there, there's a lot," Merrill urged. "Kick the tires, see what's there, as you go in and set up a new alert."

He added it takes only a few minutes to set up a new account, which could save a lot of time down the road.

And the website is not only for road travelers. It lists all state and regional airports and flight information, as well as important details regarding train travel throughout New England and its extensive walking trails.

Merrill emphasized riders of Maine's ferry service, for example, can get important updates.

"That's really the quickest way to get information from the department if there's a ferry run that's canceled or delayed," Merrill stressed. "They are a big user base here."

The new website arrives as construction is expected to increase throughout New England due to new federal funding from President Joe Biden's infrastructure law, which designates some $400 billion over five years to help repair the nation's roads and bridges.


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