By Grace Mayer
FRAMINGHAM The updated 75% plan for redesigning the intersection at Edgell Road and Central Street was presented by the City of Framingham Department of Public Works andthe Massachusetts Department of Transportation, known as MassDOT, at a virtual meeting on May 28.
Before presenting the 75% design plan, the city took into account comments raised from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) held a 25% design public hearing at the Village Hall in November 2019.
The 100% design plan is scheduled to be completed in August.
The design will include widen turn lanes, add pedestrian sidewalks and crosswalks, and incorporate bike lanes.
Ornamental traffic signals that keep within the architectural context of the area will also be added through the renovation, according to the presentation.
Although the intersection is bordered by conservation land and some historic landmarks, including the stone wall located on Edgell Road, the City and contractor have worked with the Framingham Historic Commission, Framingham Historic District Commission, Framingham Conservation Commission, and the Parks and Recreation Department to ensure construction plans will not interfere with these areas.
MassDOT will manage the project which is funded by the State Transportation Improvement Program.
The City in partnership with VHB, Inc., Framingham’s consultant for the project, reviewed the reasons for reconstructing the intersection at the meeting.
Not only would the plan improve the safety of pedestrians, bikers, and drivers, the renovations would increase the sight distance for drivers turning at the intersection’s bend, decrease car queues, and reduce vehicle speeds on the route.
The City and contractor presented the design plans and allowed the public to ask questions and make comments at the virtual meeting.
As the intersection exists currently, with three stops splitting Edgell Road and easing merging vehicles off of Central Street, the two-lane intersections have made it difficult for drivers to make left turns and created car congestion for drivers wading through this intersection.
With no crosswalks stationed at this intersection and poor sight distances for drivers approaching the stops, these safety hazards have created an increase in the number of car crashes at this intersection, as stated in the report released by the Department of Public Works.
Based on crash statistics collected from 2016 to 2019, there were 35 total crashes, up from the 15 crashes noted during 2013 to 2015. The 35 crashes equated to a 1.07 calculated crash rate—higher than the Massachusetts District 3 average crash rate of .61.
While the plan to put in a traffic signal has been settled on since March, a roundabout was also considered.
The intersection is planned to undergo construction beginning in 2023, and the project will be complete sometime in 2024, said Framingham Department of Public Works Senior Communications Project Manager Allyssa Jewell, to SOURCE earlier this spring.
“Once the signal is installed, and the associated geometric improvements are constructed, the intersection should enhance vehicular traffic flow and provide much needed safety and accessibility improvements for all users (vehicle/pedestrian/bicyclist),” Jewell said earlier this spring.
When construction begins in 2023, which is estimated to take around 18 months, one traffic lane in each direction will be maintained. Bike lanes and pedestrian crossings will also be available. Drivers accustomed to driving through the intersection will not have to worry about detours during the renovation.
Grace Mayer is a senior at Boston College studying marketing and journalism. She is also the head arts editor for Boston College’s newspaper, The Heights, where she’s covered the arts beat for three years. She is excited to report on a variety of beats for Framingham SOURCE this summer. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.