State Asked To Consider Upgrades To Service Road Intersection
By: Mary Stanley
Darryl A. Crossman said the Department of Transportation’s redesign plans for Mid-Cape Highway’s Exit 2 will make the accident-plagued interchange safer, but he said the project just might make a nearby intersection more dangerous to use.
“Ideally, I would like to see the Service Road intersection at Route 130 brought into the Exit 2 and Route 130 intersection where the traffic lights will be,” said Mr. Crossman, a Telegraph Hill Road resident.
The plans to improve safety conditions at the Route 130 and Exit 2 intersection were unveiled by the state’s highway department at a public hearing on the project last November.
The plans call for adding two traffic signals and designated turning lanes at the interchange. The plans also include restructuring the exit ramp on the eastbound side of the highway, adding a curve to that stretch of road, which would force drivers to reduce their speed and to yield to traffic as they turn onto Route 130.
In a telephone interview this week, Mr. Crossman noted that with all the additional lanes, it will make using Service Road tricky, since drivers and cyclists will have to cross four lanes of traffic when turning left out of, or onto, Service Road.
Although he expressed his concerns about this particular intersection at last year’s public hearing on the project, officials from the state’s highway department contended the traffic signals at the end of the exit ramps would improve safety conditions at the Service Road intersection and said the plans include a designated left turn lane on Route 130 for drivers turning left onto Service Road.
Last week, at the request of the board of selectmen, Town Manager George H. Dunham sent a carefully worded letter to the Department of Transportation expressing concerns about Service Road.
The initial portion of the letter expressed appreciation to the state for addressing the notoriously dangerous Exit 2 intersection and then expressed concern about the Service Road intersection.
“The proposed design improvements at Phase 1 should assist the difficulties currently experienced by motorists at Service Road, but they will not completely solve problems with turning movements, particularly heading south on Route 130 or bicyclists and public fundraisers that regularly use Service Road as part of the official Claire Saltonstall Bikeway that connects Boston to Provincetown. The town believes further review of the Service Road intersection is warranted as part of the phase two design and construction process.”
The final paragraph of the letter asked that further consideration of the Service Road intersection not impede progress on the first phase of the project, which has already gone out to bid.
“Again, we cannot thank MassDOT enough for its efforts and for funding the phase one improvements at Exit 2. We do not want this process delayed at all, but also would like the phase two issues involving Service Road and the westbound exit ramp off Route 6 also addressed through a design and construction process.”
“Hopefully, someone at the Massachusetts DOT will appreciate the hard work the town has put into this and appreciate the concerns we have here,” Mr. Crossman said.
The Exit 2 and Route 130 interchange is noted for its high accident rate and is most remembered for an accident on Easter Sunday 2000, when young parents Douglas N. and Paula J. Neff were killed, leaving their young children, who were passengers in the car when the accident occurred, without a mother and father.
In 2004, the town began lobbying the state for improvements to the intersection and by 2006, the intersection made it onto the state’s Transportation Improvement Plan, which marked it as a high priority. At that time, officials from the state’s highway department indicated that the project was at the 25 percent design stage and work to improve the intersection was expected to begin in 2008. But in 2009, the status of the project was unchanged. Representative Jeffrey D. Perry then met with state officials to discuss the status of the project and in November 2009, a public hearing was held on the design plans, and progress on the project began.
The cost of the project comes in at $1.9 million. According to Assistant Town Manager Douglas A. Lapp, the project has already gone out for bids and construction could begin this fall. The project is being funded through federal and state money.