MassDOT soliciting feedback on design update for Haydenville Road in Whately

  • Massachusetts Department of Transportation Project Manager Greg Frazier presents the 25% design plans for Whately’s Haydenville Road rehabilitation project at a Zoom hearing Wednesday night. Screenshot

  • Haydenville Road south of Conway Road is slated for repairs and improvements. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Haydenville Road between the Williamsburg line and Conway Road is slated for repairs and improvements. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Haydenville Road between Conway Road and the Williamsburg line is slated for repairs and improvements. staff photo/paul franz

Staff Writer
Published: 1/13/2022 3:44:01 PM
Modified: 1/13/2022 3:43:07 PM

WHATELY — The state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) held a public hearing Wednesday on the 25% design of the Haydenville Road reconstruction project.

The project, which is anticipated to break ground in spring 2025, seeks to rehabilitate 1.7 miles of Haydenville Road from the Williamsburg town line to approximately 150 feet before a small bridge near the Conway Road intersection. Specific improvements include the reconstruction of the road’s pavement, replaced guardrails, a defined bicycle lane, and work on culverts and other nearby drainage pipes. The intersections at Webber and Strippe roads will also be realigned to increase their safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. New Hampshire-based Holye, Tanner & Associates Inc. is the contractor tapped for the project.

“I want to voice my strong support, in my role as the Selectboard chair, for this project,” said Whately Selectboard Chair Jonathan Edwards during the public comment period. “The project overall supports and will benefit many more people outside of Whately.”

Brian Pearson, owner of Sunderland-based outdoor activity company Adventure East, voiced his support for the project as a way to increase recreational and economic opportunities.

“We are in strong support of this project for the opportunities to improve access for bicyclists,” Pearson said. “Anything we can do for the economy is a plus for the region.”

The project currently has an estimated price tag of $10 million, of which 80% will be covered by the Federal Highway Administration and MassDOT will fund the remaining 20%, according to Project Manager Greg Frazier.

Frazier noted Wednesday’s hearing was for the 25% design update and any public input MassDOT receives would be considered as the design process continues.

“We anticipate the design to be completed in winter of 2024. Once begun, the construction will take a couple of construction seasons,” Frazier said. “All questions and comments will be taken into consideration when completing the project’s design.”

Town Administrator Brian Domina said he supports the reconstruction because the town “would have difficulty paying for a $10 million project,” which is almost “10 times” the town’s annual Chapter 90 allocation, which is funding granted by the state for municipal improvements.

Anna Lawrence, a resident on Haydenville Road, raised concerns about potential increases in traffic running through the village of Haydenville once the road is complete.

“There are tons of children in our neighborhood,” Lawrence said, “and the kind of traffic that goes through on the road doesn’t really make sense for this historic tiny village center.”

Edwards said he wouldn’t be opposed to “things like speed bumps” or other speed-mitigation strategies to keep residents safe.

“I look forward to having Whately and Haydenville work together,” Edwards said, “to make sure that this road is at 21st-century standards, but also incredibly safe for all those stakeholders who are impacted.”

Further public comment on the project will be accepted by MassDOT until Jan. 22. Comments sent by mail can be addressed to Carrie E. Lavallee, P.E., Acting Chief Engineer at Suite 6340, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, Attention: Project Management, Project File No. 605983.

Email comments may be submitted to MassDOTProjectManagement@dot.state.ma.us with the subject line: Attention: Public Hearing Webinar Comments: Project File No. 6058983.

An informational handout MassDOT referred to at the meeting can be found at bit.ly/3ficIay. A recording of the meeting will be posted at bit.ly/3qzhYLZ.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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