HANSON — Selectmen and the Planning Board in collaboration with Environmental Partners, Inc., of Quincy, held a joint meeting Tuesday, Dec. 6 to introduce and discuss the proposed Route 14/Maquan Street Reconstruction Project in Hanson.
It was the first of what is expected to be a series of meetings on the proposals.
Selectman Don Howard, who began working to get the project on the state/federal transportation improvement program (TIP) a year ago, chaired the meeting. Planning Board members Don Ellis and John Kemmett and Selectman Bruce Young also sat on the dais for the meeting, which was broadcast by W-H Community Access TV.
“I can’t see Hanson in the middle … just to sit there an have nothing done,” Howard said. “It seems to me Hanson, in the past few years, [has received] nothing from the federal or state governments and I think it’s about time we get a little bit of service.”
The proposed project — which is viewed at about five years away — is anticipated to include improvements to traffic circulation and safety, pedestrian and bicycle facilities and roadway flooding along Maquan Street from Liberty Street (Route 58) and Indian Head Street to the Pembroke Town Line, a distance of approximately 1.2 miles. It will also include reconstruction of School Street (approximately 0.25 miles long to link pedestrian and bicycle accommodations from the existing Indian Head School, Maquan Elementary School, Hanson Public Library and sports fields with Maquan Street and its abutting neighborhoods.
During the hour and 40-minute session, desginer Dan Fitzgerald of Environmental Partners presented a PowerPoint program on the preliminary concepts and alternatives for improving safety and roadway drainage.
Traffic volume and projections for intersections involved, taken during peak, midweek commuter times were reviewed as well as current stop sign placement.
Among the proposals for traffic alternatives up for consideration is a roundabout at from Liberty Street (Route 58) and Indian Head Street, as has been done at the Pembroke end of Route 14 and changes to other intersections along Maquan Street.
“It’s just an idea —it’s your town — but I think it’s a worthy alternative,” Fitzgerald said of the slide illustrations. “These are not full designs, these are just initial ideas based on space that we can see out there.”
He stressed that roundabouts are safer than the larger rotaries are built for more high-speed traffic.
Present roadway conditions have also been reviewed, including average speeds — 85 percent of traffic has been registered at 41 mph where the speed limit is 30 to 35 — and wetlands near the road. Residents attending the meeting expressed concern about the speeds now seen on Maquan Street.
Kemmett also asked for a cost projection of maintaining the roadway paint needed in the plans shown. Utility poles along the route will also have to be relocated.
The town owns 45-foot rights-of-way. Bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the road within a 43-footplan are proposed. Pembroke’s end of the project, which was planned before design rules changed, does not include the same bike lane and sidewalk designs now under consideration for Hanson.
Another alternative would use a narrower vehicular roadway, with a paved area for pedestrians and bicyclists to share, separated by a median. Another called for bike lanes on both sides and a sidewalk on one.
Residents at the meeting preferred the paved area for pedestrians and bicyclists to share, separated by a median option.
Fitzgerald also said any wetlands impacted by retaining walls required by the project would have to be replicated.