The state is seeking public comment on needed improvements for the Route 495 and MassPike Interchange. The Mass Department of Transportation is reaching out to Southborough because of our proximity.
As stated on the MassDOT website dedicated to the issue, traffic congestion at I-495/I-90 has clear impacts the interchange of Route 9/495. The public is also invited to share issues from beyond the project borders that “stem from the conditions at I-495/I-90”.
MassDOT has been looking at needed improvements at the interchanges just beyond our Town borders for years. That may be partly in response to area chambers of commerce long pushing for improved traffic flow for commuters.
Over the past couple of years, the Rte 9 interchange has also become part of heated discussions in town between Flagg Road area residents and Town and state officials.
The crux of that issue is plans for housing developments at Park Central.
Park Central drive exits onto Route 9 Westbound immediately prior to the exit for 495 North. The state agency determined that allowing a large housing development to access Route 9 at that spot is too dangerous. Instead, the state has indicated egress should be on the other side of the property, via Flagg Road.
Flagg Road already has its own issues. Among them is the fact that its Route 9 West access is in a busy area right before Cumberland Farms, which borders Park Central Drive. (In other words, just a stone’s throw from the road that MassDOT says is a treacherous egress point.)
Neighborhood residents are also concerned that traffic there will push drivers to head to Route 30 instead. That path is via the narrow, windy, tree lined roads of Flagg and Deerfoot.
Over the past year, selectmen have supported residents by pushing back on the state recommendations. Last fall, the board informed MassDOT that they won’t allow egress from Park Central onto Flagg unless the developer and state come up with a safe plan.
Now, the Southborough Library is hosting a large informational display by MassDOT for patrons to view. It encourages residents to learn more about the I-495/I-90 interchange and share their feedback on improvements. The Library explained on Facebook:
The library is hosting some information for the Interchange 495/90 MassDOT Improvements project. A project map and information sheets are available outside the Eaton Meeting Room at the library, but more information can be found at their website here: https://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/highlightedprojects/i-495i-90interchangeimprovements.aspx
Following the link, and drilling further down, I found text encouraging residents who aren’t directly impacted by the project within the defined borders to weigh in on the ways they are impacted farther out:
The blue line around the interchange [on the interactive map] represents the project’s limits of work, though not the limits of its thinking or traffic modeling. For instance, we know already from prior public engagement that traffic congestion at I-495/I-90 impacts the interchange of Route 9/495.
If there are problems you experience beyond the project’s limits of work which you believe stem from the conditions at I-495/I-90, we invite you to “Add a Point” at its location and let us know how this issue is related to I-495/I-90 through your comment.
So, whether you’re a commuter angered over traffic jams, an employer frustrated about employee access issues, or a resident worried about future traffic impacts on your road, you should take the time to share your concerns with MassDOT.
Of course, some of you may feel like, “Been there. Done that.” Looking back, the state has been collecting feedback on transportation issues in the area for years.