Plympton Selectmen heard a proposal from David DeBaie, Senior Traffic Engineer from Stantec Consulting at their meeting on Monday, December 19, 2016.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) hired Stantec for a road improvement project which will include the towns of Plympton, Middleboro, and Rochester.
DeBaie presented details for a plan designed to reduce the number of traffic accidents. DeBaie told the board, “MassDOT is looking at reducing the number of crashes on rural roadways.”
Stantec’s plan spans across 9.5 miles of road in Plympton, which includes all of Main Street. Parts of Center Street, Palmer Road, Parsonage Road, County Road, and Mayflower Road would also be impacted by the proposal.
Board Chairperson Colleen Thompson asked, “Just to clarify, this is free for the town?” David Dubai assured the plan including both the cost and the labor are free for the town. Plympton’s Highway Superintendent James Mulcahy told the Express that the project amounts to about a $200,000 grant.
Board member, Christine Joy showed excitement for the town not having to fund any part of the project. “Christmas comes early!” Joy exclaimed.
DeBaie explained basic details of the proposed improvements. They include three main strategies for reducing the number of car accidents. One of the strategies discussed was to simply add more warning and regulatory signs to Plympton’s rural roads. More speed limit signs was a suggestion.
Another improvement that DeBaie discussed was to increase the amount of pavement markings on roads.
This does not just include yellow center lines. A heavy emphasis was placed on edge lines. DeBaie told the board, “Studies show that edge lines are effective in being able to reduce crashes.”
The last major improvement emphasized was the need to replace outer concrete post with guard rails. DeBaie said that the concrete posts are, “Reasonably effective in terms of showing where there is a problem, but in MassDOT’s eyes, they represent a bit of a hazard, so those are being replaced.”
After DeBaie presented the road improvements for the town, the Board asked some questions. Selectman John Traynor was curious to know how much the town’s highway department would be involved in the process. He said, “How do we enter into this?” In other words, Traynor asked, how much input Plympton’s Highway Surveyor James Mulcahy would have.
DeBaie answered that they had tried very hard to come up with something they have confidence Jim would agree on. DeBaie has been working with Plympton’s Highway Superintendent for several months, however, he did acknowledge that the MassDOT and local highway department “scenes” do operate differently.
The project, about 25% completed, is still in the planning phase and needs to go through MassDOT’s process of submittal, and resubmittal. The final plan is expected to be submitted in late April and the work completed by fall of 2017.