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Work on Downtown Project Ceases Until Spring

And the Patty Lane intersection appears to cause the most confusion.

Work on the Downtown Improvement Project, conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, will stop through the cold months, and continue through spring, according to an update yesterday from the town.

At a recent Board of Selectmen meeting, Town Engineer came armed with a large map. With details of the Downtown Improvement Project at the ready, Litchfield fielded quite a few questions from Selectmen, many of whom were relaying concerns from residents.

While Litchfield had responses for all, he repeated two statements: "This is a state project" and "they are still tweaking things."

Selectman Aaron Hutchins questioned the timing of the lights at the center, suggesting that the "timing doesn't seem to be any different than before." Litchfield said light timing and positions will change, and some of the construction is "really camping the style of the whole project."

"We have seen significant work in the downtown area over the summer months," said Litchfield. "The railroad crossing that was done at the beginning of the month was major for us. There was a discussion I had with the electrical guys that it was going to be connected, but it is not completed at this point. It will be in the next few weeks. You're right; it was supposed to alleviate part of the traffic. I expect things will be improving with synchronization is done." 

Litchfield also discussed the change that will affect Bank of America, where there will now be a right turn only out of the parking lot, and devoid of a traffic signal.

"The way it is set up now is unacceptable," Litchfield said of Patty Lane two weeks ago, "and the engineers fully agree. The poles are under the state's control, and we're doing the best we can. We can't push them anymore. 

The gates on the train tracks, Litchfield reported, "are not coming back" since there are signals before and after the crossing.

"When the signs are up," said Litchfield, "and everyone is in the right place traveling through the right area, we'll be able to modify the timing. It's not worth tweaking a system that is not completely operational yet."

The following is a status report submitted by Litchfield on Jan. 8.

The contractor has prepared the project for the winter and no further roadwork will be completed until the spring. Although the project is not complete and all travel lanes are not at their full width because some poles are still waiting to be removed most of the work is complete. Unfortunately the poles cannot be removed until all wires have been transferred over to the new poles but utility pole work will continue through the winter months.

The Patty Lane intersection appears to provide the most confusion for drivers due to the pole remaining in front of the lane which provides access into Patty Lane from traffic heading westbound on Main Street (ie. the left turn in). At this time, the only access to Patty Lane is from the west as the signal controlling the left turn in from the east has been covered and a “No Left Turn” sign has been installed next to the covered signal head. Both left and right turns out of Patty Lane are allowed as the remaining pole does not impact the lane for traffic exiting Patty Lane.

The work involving the replacement of the railroad crossing has been completed and some additional pavement was installed by the contractor to minimize the impact of the bump over the tracks for the winter until the final coat of paving is installed next spring.

The sign contractor is working in the downtown area this week installing additional signs in accordance with the approved plans which should provide some additional guidance for drivers.

Please note these status reports will resume in the spring once work is scheduled to commence again as weather permits. In the meantime please feel free to contact MassDOT resident engineer Angela Padavano at 774-292-2076 with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the Downtown Traffic Improvements.

Patch readers: How do you think the improvement is coming along? What suggestions would you make?

MsV January 10, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Saw the No Right Turn sign at the end of Rt 135 onto Rt 20. I don't understand that one. We should be able to still turn right on red there.
Hannah January 10, 2013 at 01:47 PM
The left turn signal from rt 20 west on to Church Street was a big imporvement over what was previously there however one criticism I have is that the light only allows 2-3 cars to turn at one time then gives them a red arrow. In my opinion, that light should turn solid green, after letting at least 4-5 cars turn safely, so if there is a gap in traffic coming east on rt 20, people have a chance to turn.
LMarch January 10, 2013 at 02:55 PM
I agree with Hannah. The light to turn onto Church St. is much too short. Also, I've had people beeping at me when I stop for the red arrow. Not everyone realizes a red arrow is a RED LIGHT! Also, right turn only coming out of Bank of America is ridiculous. I live off of Church Street so this means I have to take a right turn through the center of town and loop through or around CVS. Crazy!
Andi Daunais January 10, 2013 at 08:00 PM
I am another who is bothered by the limited number of cars allowed to turn left off of rte 20 onto Church Street. On a good day, only four cars can take the left on the green arrow. Quite often I find myself sitting at a red arrow while the cars going straight can go, and no cars are coming the other way, which would allow me to safely take the left.
Christine Cobb January 11, 2013 at 12:40 AM
What happened to the left turn arrow o to Hudson from rte 20? In rush hour, it's just as impossible to take that left as it was before. No delayed green either. It was there when the lights first went in.
C&P January 11, 2013 at 11:18 PM
Please tell me who the Chuckle-Head is that came up with the new signage downtown?? I have NEVER seen blight like this. We now have to have signs that tell you what traffic light is ahead? SIde by side signs that say Rt 20 East, Rt 20 West....Is this another one for Corderre to say "Sorry....call the State....Not my issue". Folks....am I alone here? We've lost our downtown.....
Bob Weir January 15, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Who the heck is in charge of all the signs, Mr. Moron? Do we really need TWO rt. 20 signs six inches apart showing east/west everywhere? Who's the bright bulb putting the stop sign one foot in front of the existing stop sign by Avidia bank?? Original one looks fine, doing a good job, no need to replace it unless to burn up some tax dollars. Two beautiful "Do not Enter" signs in front of Bank of America should solve all those daily accidents that used to pile up from drivers that didn't know you stay to the rigtht of the island entering the bank lot. I graduated Algonquin 30 yrs ago and can only remember ever seeing two cars parked in downtown and it was in front of the House of Pizza both times, but the 25 "No Parking" signs we have all over now should put an end to this rampant problem. Remember the "beautify the downtown campaign", what a joke now. I guess the town officials had no input on this one otherwise we should all be embarassed.
PREDATOR January 15, 2013 at 01:51 PM
Government cant direct traffic thru Nboro center.....no problem....lets give them control over the best health care system too. Amazing.
LMarch January 15, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Just noticed when coming down 135 towards the center of town, both lanes can now take a left turn???
The Troll of Northborough January 16, 2013 at 02:53 PM
As I understand things, the Town engineer is the one that is suposed to watch over this. State project or not HE is the voice for Northborough to the state. This project goes from a bad idea to a worse idea daily! TO quote our town engineer " It's not worth tweaking a system that is not completely operational yet."" SO in the mean time everyone suffers. yea an hours worth of work isnt worth your safety or mine. Yep folks, MR Litchfield says your safety isnt woth the time!!!! Patty lane - What a freaking Joke - are you allowed to go straight or is it right turn only? East end of main street - the HUGE temp BUMP signs that blow over in a mild breeze Are these really ment to stay for the winter? I was mildly amused to watch the frame of one get eatten by the sidewalk snowblower, and still to this day its laying on the side of the road. There isn’t any such thing as “not being able to push the state any more than they are.” That is a total lack of dedication to the people and safety of Northborough residents. Pick up the phone daily and call them, inform them we have critical safety issues that need to be dealt with immediately. Get the issues fixed or resign and let someone else with care and dedication to the town and its people give it a go.

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