Construction is widespread in Massachusetts it seems. There is always a project going on, which I suppose is your tax dollars at work. Well, sometimes. It all depends if the work being done is by public or private sector.

We all see the cops in Massachusetts directing traffic whether it be for a water main break or Eversource is doing power line work. Did you ever wonder how much they earn?

What's The Deal In Massachusetts With Road Details?


I caught up with Sergeant Marc Maddelena from the Pittsfield Police Department on Tuesday and asked him a few questions on how the whole thing works.

Who Works The Outside Detail?

Police, Fire, or civilian flaggers. Retired law enforcement and/or Sherriff's office can as well. When a job is requested, qualified employees can sign up for a detail. Some municipalities starting offering work to firefighters due to a combination of an increase in road details and lack of manpower.

Public vs. Private Sector

A common misnomer is that the city or town in which the job is taking place pays for the outside detail. This is not the case. Unless there is a water main break, or something that municipality government is responsible for, a private company hires either police, fire, or civilian flaggers for the job.

Private Company Examples




National Grid

Do Police Carry on an Outside Job

Active law enforcement can carry.

How Much Money Do Police Earn on an Outside Detail?

Depending on the city or town, the rate for police is anywhere from $50-$60 an hour.

Civilian Flaggers

The rate for civilian flaggers on a federally funded job is about $44 an hour as of 2018.

Massachusetts DOT Work Zone Guidelines

Road Flaggers and Police Personnel Shall:

• Be aware of and visible to oncoming traffic to perform the required traffic control as directed by the Engineer

• Stand facing traffic unless otherwise directed or authorized by the Engineer • Remain out of any vehicle at all times

• Wear proper field uniform, with ANSI approved outerwear • Position themselves throughout the site as directed by the Engineer

• Arrive and depart at times posted and/or prescribed by the Engineer

• Provide for safe movement of traffic through their assigned area, in accordance with the approved Traffic Control Plan

• Receive and communicate specific instructions clearly and firmly

• Understand and apply safe traffic control practices, recognize dangerous traffic situations, and warn workers in sufficient time to avoid injury

• The use of cell phones during operations is considered a distraction and is strictly prohibited



Vehicles used as Traffic Control Devices shall:

• Have working emergency lighting activated only when directed by the Engineer; at all other times the lighting shall be turned off

• Be conspicuously and strategically placed between oncoming traffic and the work site as determined by the Engineer

• Be properly fueled prior to arriving at the construction zone




• Overlapping Traffic Police Detail hours with scheduled working hours is strictly prohibited

• If the road flagger and/or police detail arrives late, leaves early, or is terminated from the site by a supervisor or the Engineer for improper performance, the road flagger and/or police detail shall be paid only for actual hours worked

• Breaks shall be taken at scheduled times in conjunction with contractor’s scheduled breaks (as long as the construction zone is considered safe without a road flagger and/or police detail present), and out of public view whenever possible


• To work any type of MassDOT project, Traffic Police Details shall receive training in work zone safety according to the Highway Work Zone Safety Guidelines for Massachusetts Municipalities and Contractors

• To work any type of MassDOT project, road flaggers must pass a MassDOT approved certification program and carry that certification on their person at all times • Road flaggers must also have approved basic first aid training.

Police, Fire, Civilian Flaggers:


All Flaggers performing work on public roadways in the Commonwealth must comply with the following minimum equipment requirements (which must be included as requirements in the materials submitted for Program Certification Approval):

• White Hard Hat (with reflectorized tape)

• Lime Vest

• Lime Pants (Vest and pants combined must meet ANSI Class III visibility)

• Two-way radios

• Stop/Slow paddles meeting MUTCD requirements

• Weighted red flags for emergency work

• Air Horn

• Adequate signs and cones to implement an MUTCD approved work zone set-up They must be at least 18 years of age and must carry a valid Certification Card at all times when performing Roadway Flagger duties.

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