The state Department of Transportation’s Route 22 short-term improvement plan received mixed reviews during a special public informational meeting Thursday in Somerville.
Members of the public were invited to review the proposed short-term improvements along the Route 22 sustainable corridor in Bridgewater and Somerville. Representatives of the county and the project’s consulting firm were available to respond to residents’ concerns and questions.
Somerville resident Bob Barth told Project Manager Thomas Dancsecs, of the consulting firm of Buchart Horn Inc., that the short-term project “was a good idea. I understand where you’re trying to start from.”
“I’m glad they’re trying to do the short fixes but we need the long-term fixes," he said. "A big improvement will be getting rid of the U-turns."
Removal of the median U-turns (at Adamsville Road and North Gaston Avenue) are part of the short-term plan, but are not scheduled to take place until summer of 2014.
“They are the last to be closed, upon completion of the short-term project,” Dancsecs said.
Bridgewater resident Bob Vaucher echoed Barth’s concerns regarding the U-turns and pointed out he had three acquaintances killed at the U-turns.
Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher noted that residents have been involved in providing input for the Route 22 plan for the last two to three years.
“Obviously, it’s needed," he said. "Route 22 is a wreck. It’s been a long time coming.”
Vaucher told Gallagher, “I’m glad you weren’t mayor 40 years ago when they allowed all those stores on Route 22.”
The short-term project, which is entering the final design phase, consists of the following:
- Reconstruct the Route 22 eastbound shoulder as an auxiliary lane for the Route 202/206 on-ramp.
- Reconfigure the Mountain Avenue intersection as a stop control.
- Improve access at Buffalo Wild Wings.
- Widen and reconstruct the Route 22 eastbound shoulder as an auxiliary lane from North Bridge Street past Grove Street.
- Widen the shoulders along the Route 22 median from North Bridge Street to North Grove Street.
- Eliminate the median U-turns at North Gaston Avenue and Adamsville Road.
- Install a new traffic signal at the intersection of Foothill Road and Ronson Road, with a left-turn lane.
- Install a new overhead sign for an “Exit Only” lane on Route 22 westbound to Ronson Road.
- Perform highway lighting improvements.
- Install new Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) facilities along the corridor.
Dancsecs explained that the project has undergone more than a year of coordination meetings with the municipalities and the counties.
“We know that this is a bad traffic area. It is difficult to address all the concerns in the most problematic areas,” Dancsecs said.
Comments gathered from those who attended Thursday’s public information session will be “evaluated,” he added.
The final project design is scheduled for completion in June 2012, with construction to start in February 2013. Construction is scheduled to be completed in August 2014.