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Tewksbury Works on Plan for Improving Intersection

January 15, 2019

TEWKSBURY -- An intersection improvement project is coming to Tewksbury to address heavy traffic in the area of Andover Street and River Road.

The project is currently in the 25 percent design phase, and Town Engineer Kevin Hardiman said they expect to have the 75 percent design submitted to MassDOT in April.

“We’re looking to signalize the intersection at River Road and Andover Street,” Hardiman said. “Currently, it’s a stop sign on River Road and the volume of traffic and turning movements warrants full signalization at that intersection.”

The project will also include pedestrian accommodations and bike lanes, both things the town has been looking to incorporate in other areas, especially along Route 38.

At the most recent public hearing on the project, Hardiman said residents offered various comments, including how difficult it is to make turns out of side streets in that area because of the traffic volume.

“The other thing was the street trees along that corridor,” he said. “They wanted to know what we’ll be doing to keep as many trees as possible or add in additional trees if the trees need to be moved.”

Selectman Mark Kratman, who is also a MassDOT employee, said when he first ran for the Board of Selectmen, one of his goals was to help bring in additional sidewalks in town.

“Other than reduce taxes, the number one thing you hear is that we need more sidewalks,” Kratman said. “A lot of people jog through that area. That’s one of the most populated intersections.”

Kratman said aside from sidewalks, the plan also includes widening the intersection and adding crosswalks.

“Right now, they have a crosswalk that’s out there, but you have to cross a number of lanes,” Kratman said.

Hardiman said the current traffic volume along River Road is close to 6,000 vehicle trips daily. On Andover Street, east of River Road, the daily number of vehicle trips is about 16,000. West of River Road, on Andover Street, those daily trips are about 20,000.

“There’s significant delays on that River Road leg for vehicles trying to get out Andover Street,” Hardiman said. “There’s not significant safety issues with this intersection, it’s just a poor configuration and high volume. Those are the issues we’re trying to address.”

This project is expected to be funded by the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Because the project is still in the preliminary stages, Hardiman said there isn’t a cost estimate yet. Planning for the project has been ongoing for about a year and a half, Hardiman said.

“Right now, we’re looking at really the end of 2019 for this project to be completely designed and ready for construction,” Hardiman said. “Then, it’s just a matter of waiting for the funding to be available.”

Follow Kori Tuitt on Twitter @KoriTuitt.

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