Here’s the latest on a state plan to bring Route 3A down to 2 lanes in Hingham
HINGHAM – The town is one step further along in a multimillion-dollar project aimed at reducing Route 3A to two lanes and changing walk and bike paths to improve safety and access.
The proposed improvements would affect the 1.6-mile stretch of road from Otis Street past the rotary toward Summer and Rockland streets.
Oct. 3, 2018: Data shows 3A traffic can stick to ‘road diet’
Sept. 26, 2018: Hingham-Hull lane closure slowed down drivers, data shows
Residents voice concerns
State Department of Transportation officials described the proposed changes during an online public meeting Tuesday.
Residents from Hingham and surrounding towns voiced concerns about encroachments onto private land. They also had issues with how the data regarding speeding was calculated.
A Summer Street resident expressed concern about the suggestion that private land could be taken.
“Property rights are fundamental in a democracy, so I hope everybody on this call would shudder a little when they hear something about the government mandating the taking of private property,” the resident said.
Cohasset residents expressed concern about traffic potentially building up on Route 228 if drivers avoid Route 3A when coming from Hull.
One resident said West Corner in Cohasset is “a dangerous intersection,” and that a traffic light is needed there. Hingham Town Engineer J.R. Frey said there is no plan to add a signal in that area.
Corey O’Connor, a MassDOT traffic operations engineer, presented data from a test run in 2018 to gauge the potential changes to the road by using flex posts to adjust the lanes. He said the results showed “little to no travel time increases” even during “peak week and beach holidays.”
“The travel times were actually lower, or they remained lower, than the travel times would be if you took another route around,” O’Connor said. “So there is no reason to divert away.”
O’Connor said drivers’ speeds decreased as much as 5 mph during the test.
Project aims to increase safety
Project Manager Thomas Loughlin said the goals are to improve safety, improve access to the Hingham waterfront and implement “Complete Streets,” a design concept that focuses on safety and accessibility for all types of transport.
Loughlin presented potential ways to reach those goals, including a lane configuration with a raised median , a 10-foot multiuse path, 5-foot sidewalksand new signal equipment and signs.
Loughlin said some areas don’t have sidewalks or designated bicycle accommodations such as a shoulder, a path or markings on the road to alert drivers.
The proposed design for the roundabout includes “deflector islands” to slow cars as they enter, Loughlin said. It also includes “median areas” in the crosswalks to allow pedestrians to stop and cross safely by focusing on one direction of traffic at a time. Roundabouts, a more modern version of a rotary, are smaller and slower.
Loughlin said a detailed construction schedule has not yet been set, but he estimated that construction would take “at least two full construction seasons, if not three” or possibly more depending on the number of “utility relocations that are going to be achievable” and any other impacts along the road.
To submit comments on the Route 3A project, email Carrie Lavallee at [email protected] and put “MassDOT Project File No. 605168” in the subject line.
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