Proposed intersection redesign not deemed priority in Shelburne

  • Frankton Road in Shelburne slopes down to Route 112 at such an angle that drivers turning northbound onto the state route must often creep into the oncoming lane because the sight lines are so difficult. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The intersection of Frankton Road and Route 112 in Shelburne. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 3/19/2023 9:50:47 AM

SHELBURNE — Representatives with the state Department of Transportation have provided feedback about the intersection of Frankton Road and Route 112, informing town officials that modifications at this location are not considered a priority.

“It’s not on Mark’s top 10 list for intersections to be worked on,” noted Town Administrator Terry Narkewicz, referring to Highway Superintendent Mark Shippee.

Frankton Road, which is frequently traveled by both Shelburne and Colrain residents, slopes down to Route 112 at such an angle that drivers turning northbound onto the state route must often creep into the oncoming lane because the sight lines are so difficult. The road is also so narrow that it is challenging for two vehicles to pass one another.

The Colrain and Shelburne selectboards received a letter in January from two dozen residents of Call and Patten Hill roads — which are Colrain roads in the vicinity of Frankton Road — about the difficulties of using this intersection. Their letter reads, “We ask that you investigate and pursue possibilities for improving this situation for the safety of all who travel there.”

In a Selectboard meeting last week, Shippee, Narkewicz, MassDOT District 1 Highway Director Francisca Heming, other town officials and engineers discussed the possibility of altering the intersection to improve safety.

However, the intersection is not considered a priority for MassDOT for two reasons.

“MassDOT didn’t feel it was a priority project because there had been no accidents and there is another access point where it intersects with Call Road,” Narkewicz summarized during the meeting.

Residents who originally alerted the town about the intersection believed now is an opportune time to improve the area because several nearby structures had been demolished and the town now has control of those properties. Narkewicz explained that to alter the intersection, a large portion of these lots would need to be used.

“It would defeat what we are hoping to accomplish on those lots,” Narkewicz said. The Selectboard hopes to work with Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing on the now-vacant lots.

Shelburne is coordinating with Greenfield to collaboratively repair Greenfield Road. Narkewicz said this is a more important project because Greenfield Road is often used as an alternative route when Route 2 is closed.

Shelburne officials now intend to reach out to the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) to see if engineering is available for the Frankton Road intersection, but the opportunities for funding are small.

Selectboard Chair Andrew Baker believes the problem can be solved by raising Route 112 higher at the intersection so Frankton Road will have a less steep entrance onto the state highway.

“I am with Mark,” Baker said. “If there are more urgent road projects and there is a limited amount of Chapter 90 money … this may be a more distant project.”

Bella Levavi can be reached at 413-930-4579 or


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