Busy intersection to Mohawk Trail will receive safety upgrades in 2015

Reporter wields compass, map to try out ‘the thinking sport’

GREENFIELD — The state will begin a $1.35 million project in the spring of next year to reconstruct and make the intersection at River Street and Shelburne Road on the Mohawk Trail safer for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The state Department of Transportation’s highway division worked with Franklin Regional Council of Governments to complete a Roadway Safety Audit in fall of 2011 and identified safety issues at that intersection that need to be addressed, according to a spokesman for the state.

According to the study, traffic backups, motorists turning into the Dunkin’ Donuts and Enterprise Rent-A-Car driveways, and an elementary school’s arrivals and dismissals are some of the causes for crashes there.

The study calls the area a “high-crash location,” citing there were 20 crashes, mostly rear-end type, between 2008 and 2011.

Michael Verseckes, spokesman for the state, said the project will reconstruct the intersection on Route 2A near Dunkin’ Donuts by addressing those deficiencies and providing bike and pedestrian paths.

Verseckes said the state will put the project out to bid in September. He said if work begins on the intersection in spring 2015 as planned, the majority would be finished by fall 2015 and the contractor would return in spring 2016 to finish up any remaining work and do some landscaping in the area.

He said traffic in that area will be disrupted at times, but as little as possible. He said there will be short periods of alternating one-way traffic on weekdays, but two-way traffic will be restored at the end of each workday and on weekends.

“The result will be a safer, better functioning intersection with improved bicycle and pedestrian accommodation,” said Verseckes.

Some of the safety enhancements will include restricting left turns, painting paved areas and installing more road markings, trimming vegetation in the area, reprogramming the traffic signal’s timing, installing “no parking” signs near along Shelburne Road near the school, and replacing incandescent traffic signal lights with LED lighting.

The state will also consider constructing a roundabout there in the future, if what it does next year doesn’t work.

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