MWDN: State details recommendations for I495/Rte. 9 interchange

Above: The I-495/Rte. 9 interchange can be a challenging one for motorists (via Google Maps)

Discussions about how to improve the interchange at Routes 9 and 495 have been ongoing for a while now. Last night the Planning Board got a look at the latest proposals which were developed after an 18-month study by the state.

The Metrowest Daily News reports Planning Board members expressed some concerns about the design. They also questioned whether there would be any funding to take on the project.

Three lanes of travel on a stretch of Rte. 9 in Southborough and new ramps elevated by bridges are among $130 million worth of state suggestions to improve the I-495/Rte. 9 interchange unveiled to the Planning Board Monday night.

“Expense is the primary obstacle for something like this,” state Department of Transportation Project Manager Calli Cenizal told board members, who inquired as to whether funding for any of the projects could reasonably be expected in the next five or so years.

The interchange has long been a priority of the state’s Central Mass. Metropolitan Planning Organization, Cenizal said, however has been removed from a long-range plan of the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The federally mandated MPOs decide which road projects to undertake and when, and since the interchange straddles the turf of both organizations, securing funding could be difficult.

Read more in this article by the Metrowest Daily News.

15 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tim Martel
9 years ago

“The plan would eliminate the right-hand turn onto Rte. 9 west from Park Central Drive near the Red Roof Inn, instead requiring drivers to exit via Flagg Road.”

I can’t begin to describe how vehemently I object to this idea.

First, the turn onto route 9 from Flagg road is already difficult. As Planning Board member Mr. Cimino already stated, it will make things in that area worse rather than better.

Second, where exactly do they intend to connect Park Central and Flagg? Close to Route 9 or smack through a neighborhood?

Third, how can they justify this at a cost of $25 million?

wondering
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim Martel

I would be all for exiting onto Flagg instead of Route 9 that way it would be easier to get back into town instead of circling on Route 495. I can however certainly understand how the people in that neighborhood would feel. I just would like the convenience of it.

southsider
9 years ago

Most of the time, this stretch of road ( 9 & 495 ) is busy but the traffic moves well enough. Maybe the folks running BJ’s can simply stagger their various department start and stop times. The traffic in this area has worsened at rush hour ever since BJ’s relocated. The rush backs up traffic on Route 9, Route 495 and the Mass Pike during morning and evening rush hours. Yesterday morning I spent from 8:40 am til about 8:55 am travelling from the old Verizon warehouse to the southbound ramp entrance to 495. There were literally hundreds and hundreds of cars simply burning gasoline. When I began traveling 495 South, I noticed an enormous backup on the 495 Northbound side and both off-ramps of the Mass Pike.

Flagg Road Resident
9 years ago

The idea of forcing more traffic onto Flagg Road is extremely alarming. Commercial vehicles already use Flagg Road with excessive frequency and speed. The narrow road, touted by real estate agents for its historic trees and charming rock walls, is not meant to handle the traffic it already supports, let alone overflow from newly designed traffic patterns.

wondering
9 years ago

I absolutely agree, it’s just my selfishness that wants to be able to get gas or coffee at the new Cumbys and get back into town more easily. I think that area is just not set up for that kind of traffic.

Tim Martel
9 years ago
Reply to  wondering

You need to understand that you won’t be able to do this. You will only be able to turn right on Flagg from this connector.

Paul Cimino
9 years ago

Some further context may be helpful here, because Mass DOT’s efforts were actually very well received by the Planning Board.

The piece in MWDN accurately quoted my concerns regarding re-routing Park Central traffic onto Flagg Road – it seems clear to me that at best this simply shifts the current hazard a few hundred feet east. But it is as important to note that this recommendation by Mass DOT was only one of nine separate recommendations made to address the substantial current and future traffic/safety issues presented by the interchange of I-495 and Route 9 and the surrounding area. Those of you who commute through this area on business days know that it is a rough go. In general the DOT’s nine recommendations are very well conceived. They also are designed to be implemented independently of each other, for maximum flexibility in what can/should be achieved. Where the Planning Board raised concerns (e.g., regarding Flagg Road), DOT was receptive. Overall it was a very solid presentation by DOT.

For those interested, much more information can be found on the project web site: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/planning/Main/CurrentStudies/I495Route9InterchangeStudy.aspx

Paul Cimino

Kelly Roney
9 years ago
Reply to  Paul Cimino

Thanks for the link, Paul.

The road plan around Flagg Rd. is on p. 25 of http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/17/docs/495/I495Route9PublicMeetingTwoPresentation.pdf.

Some observations:

At least the plan doesn’t gain egress via a loop through Blackthorn. Still, the loop behind the Red Roof and Cumberland Farms doesn’t leave much room to avoid stack-ups.

There’s no exit from Cumberland Farms other than looping around to Flagg. No legal exit. But this is Massachusetts, and our drivers aren’t easily dissuaded from where they want to go by mere signs, nor even by awkward turns.

The presentation shows the before state as “LOS F” and the after state as “LOS F”. I’m guessing this is a letter grade for level of service. If so, that means this plan aims to make the intersection merely less bad, not really good.

Both Park Central and Flagg traffic have to weave with Rt. 9 traffic that exits right onto 495 N. The goals of this plan seem to be to reduce the number of locations of weaving, not traffic volume, and to move the weave as far away from the exit ramp as possible. These are both valid goals, positive but not hugely positive. There will now be even more merge conflict with traffic exiting Wendy’s.

A better plan might be to acquire the lot at the corner of Flagg and Rt. 9 and reroute Flagg through it as far east as possible. That would move the weave even further upstream and allow incorporation of Wendy’s traffic so that three merges would be reduced to one. (Yes, there would be a higher cost due to land acquisition.)

But I’m no traffic engineer, so this comment is probably worth what you paid for it!

Tim Martel
9 years ago
Reply to  Paul Cimino

Thanks, Paul. I appreciate how the Planning Board quickly identified this issue in particular. I’m looking forward to seeing how the DOT replies to your feedback about Flagg road.

Regarding the Crystal Pond plan, I noticed that the turn-around is being eliminated. What will replace that function? Its hard to tell from the diagram on page 22 of the presentation. Will there be some kind of access road off Route 9 East to take traffic directly onto Crystal Pond road to then get back onto Route 9 West via the light? Or are residents going to have to wait at the light on Route 9 East to turn right onto Crystal Pond, then do a u-turn on Crystal Pond road, then wait at the light a 2nd time to turn left onto Route 9 West?

Paul Cimino
9 years ago
Reply to  Tim Martel

Tim, to answer your question most succinctly — it’s the first one. Jughandle ramp off 9EB to Crystal Pond, left on Crystal Pond, left (through the traffic light) onto 9WB.

Paul

Tim Martel
9 years ago
Reply to  Paul Cimino

Thanks Paul.

bob a
9 years ago

The problem is not the route 9 / 495 interchange which is one of the best designed cloverleafs in the state, but rather the worst intersection in the state 495 / 90

Eliminate the tolls and the fix the interchange and the problems go away

But that is too logical and easy

The state wants to continue to sock us with inflated tolls to fund other transportation projects… almost $6 per day to get in and out of Boston (real cost is about $2.40) while route 93 ( the big dig) rides for free, in essence a complete rip off of the mass pike toll payers in the form of an unfair tax…

Thanks to Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Supreme Court..

Please oppose this nonsense….

Frank Crowell
9 years ago
Reply to  bob a

You may get your wish of tolls removed – along with a Mass highway usage fee. But then we would be unable to tax out of staters for using the Mass Pike. So the solution will be to keep the tolls and add the usage fee. I am sure the State Legislators and the Gov are capable of this. There are no problems in this town, state or country that cannot be solved by higher taxes – or so the current thinking goes.

sboronolonger
9 years ago

I believe it was under Gov. Romney (or a previous Republican) that the Mass. Highway System was established that changed the tolling structure and re-allocated Central Artery debt to further affect Turnpike users.

SB Resident
9 years ago

I agree with Bob A. Rt 9 is not the problem 495/90 is. Rt 9 backs up when 495 backs up or when things are backing up from lyman, it’s pretty much that simple. Since the tolls aren’t ever going away (pension liabilities), hopefully a redesign of 495/90 along with the new electronic tolling fixes the problem and we can keep a superhighway from running through the middle of our town.

Making Rt. 9, 5 lanes wide is simply crazy. The four lanes is already too wide. No one even uses that right most lane at the crystal pond light now. Why do we need another lane?

  • © 2022 MySouthborough.com — All rights reserved.