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A state grant covered a significant amount of road work in Westford this fall.
Although coined “the Big Dig” project, in reference to an infamous rerouting of the central artery in Boston from 1982 to 2002, Westford’s roadway construction projects took only a few months and are now completed. But they impacted traffic with detours and delays for several weeks.
In addition to the widening of Tadmuck Road at Littleton Road, a Main Street water main installation, a Complete Streets Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation covered the cost of additional improvements in town. Westford applied for the funds during the first year of the state program and was awarded $399,860 in the second round of fiscal 2017, according to the Mass DOT website – one of only 47 communities to win the funds.
“We had our act together,” Starratt said.
“A Complete Street is one that provides safe and accessible options for all travel modes – walking, biking, transit, and motorized vehicles – for people of all ages and abilities,” according to the funding program guide. The Baker-Polito Administration set aside $12.5 million in fiscal 2016 and awarded funds in three rounds the following fiscal year.
- The town center project consisted of constructing a sidewalk connection along Main Street and Boston Road to a new pedestrian crossing that leads to the town Common.
- A new curb that bumps out at the intersection of Lincoln Street and Boston Road was installed to slow traffic turning onto Lincoln.
- A curb extension was added at Boston Road and Main Street.
- Walkway ramps were added to a crosswalk in front of Town Hall.
Robinson School Sidewalk
- The Robinson School sidewalk connection added 600 feet of new sidewalk along Concord Road to the Robinson School front door, improving pedestrian safety and accessibility at the Robinson, Concord and Kelly Road intersections.
- Rapid flashing beacons were installed to improve pedestrian safety at Howard and Concord Roads.
Norman E. Day School Crossing
The Day School project improved safety and access at the primary crossing to the school by adding illuminated school zone signs on West Prescott Street. The work consisted of constructing a crosswalk and complying with the American Disability Act by adding wheelchair ramps from the North Main Street pedestrian crossing to the front door of the school.
Two New Crosswalks
In addition to the projects covered by the Complete Streets grant, two new crosswalks consisting of inlaid resin, stamped with a red brick pattern were added in the town center at the end of November.
The grant money wasn’t enough to cover their installation, so two civic organizations stepped in. The Parish Center for the Arts and the Common Restoration Project each paid $4,666 to cover the total cost of the crosswalks.
The decision to underwrite the two projects won praise from Gail Flannery, co-chairman of the Town Center Parking and Traffic Committee, which worked with Starratt on overseeing the improvements.
“The committee is pleased to recognize the generosity of the Parish Center for the Arts and the Common Restoration Project which funded the two brick-like crosswalks. Without this generous offering the crosswalks could not have been installed,” Flannery stated.