BOS updates public on Rte 9 egress & Flagg Rd issues, asks for comments

Above: One possible long term solution of Flagg Road access to Route 9 could be redirecting neighborhood traffic to a reconfigured light at Crystal Pond Road. (image from Google Maps)

Last night, Selectman Paul Cimino updated fellow selectmen and the public on potential short term and long term solutions for issues on Route 9 and Flagg Road. He explained all the possibilities explored with the state. They include some that may surprise you.

In discussing next steps for local solutions on Flagg Road and Deerfoot, the board asked residents to submit their opinions on safety solutions before their next meeting.

(To do that, you can email The next meeting is planned for July 19th. And selectmen would like comments far enough in advance to review prior to it. For a refresher on the proposed solutions from the recent safety study, click here.)

Earlier this month, Cimino promised that he and Representative Carolyn Dykema would work closely with the state to pursue safety solutions for Route 9 egress on the west end of Southborough. They followed through in a several hour meeting this week with senior MassDOT officials. Also there were chiefs of DPW, police and fire, Town Administrator, Town Counsel, a representative from Senator Eldridge’s office and Park Central’s developer.

Cimino and Dykema explained that the state is adamantly opposed to installing a light at the Flagg Road. According to “deep research” on the issue by MassDOT, a significant grade change and proximity both to the prior light and 495 all contribute to it being an unsafe spot for drivers to stop and start.

So, what is on the table? 

In the short term, the state does have plans to improve safety in that stretch of the road through better lane control. Right turn only lanes have been painted in at the third lanes of Middle Road and Parkerville exits. At Flagg, the state intends to install signage specifying travel lanes for Flagg Road, 495, and continuing Rte 9 West.

Another possibility was reconfiguring Flagg Road so that it comes into Rte 9 sooner than it does now, closer to Wendy’s vs Cumberland Farms. (No time frame was given for that.)

In the long term, a bigger project could encourage access from the Flagg Road neighborhoods at a redesigned signal at Crystal Pond Road. The new intersection could include a frontage road that runs two ways between Crystal Pond and Flagg. It would also be of economic benefit to businesses on that stretch.

It would be a significant project, and best case scenario is 7-10 years out. Other possibilities were also far off.

One “out of the most out of the box” suggestions was creating an access road from the development area to Main Street or Lynnbrook Road. If pursued, that might be partially funded by a MassWorks grant.

Before those potential abutters panic, Cimino clarified that it was discussed “at a very macro level” and would require an “overwhelming amount of design and public comment.”

Dykema told the public the state is serious about improving safety on that stretch of Route 9. They have been studying it for years and a project is on their long term plan with a 2023-25 time frame. But it has yet to make the TIP (or as Cimino later clarified, CIP – Capital Infrastructure Plan). She and Town officials will do their best to try to move the project up in the queue.

Dykema encouraged that anyone with new ideas to explore should reach out.

Two suggestions made last night were closing the entrance from Flagg to Route 9, while making the Park Central development work out access with MassDOT, or moving the 495 entrance to the left side of Route 9 west.

Dykema pointed out that 495 access isn’t just a cost issue, it requires federal approval which is very hard to come by. But she said she would ask.

As for local control of Flagg and Deerfoot roads safety, selectmen understood that not all residents may be in agreement about road humps, clearing trees to build sidewalks, or other measures. That is why they want to hear from more residents before making decisions.

Updated (6/29/16 9:39 pm): I had mistakenly listed Mr. Cimino as Vice Chair. Brian Shea is the current Vice Chair.

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