MassDOT removes recently installed islands on Routes 5 and 10 in South Deerfield

  • The islands installed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on Routes 5 and 10 in South Deerfield by the Fire Station, Elm Street intersection and Yankee Candle have been removed. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The islands installed by the state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) on Routes 5 and 10 in South Deerfield by the Fire Station, Elm Street intersection and Yankee Candle have been removed. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The islands installed by the state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) on Routes 5 and 10 in South Deerfield by the Fire Station, Elm Street intersection and Yankee Candle have been removed. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 10/22/2021 5:23:07 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Islands recently installed on Greenfield Road as a part of construction on Routes 5 and 10 have been removed by the state Department of Transportation.

The islands, which took up the middle of the road, would have stalled first responders’ efforts if traffic was congested on the road as drivers would be unable to leave enough room to pull over for an ambulance or a fire engine to pass, town officials said. The islands were installed in late August and were removed at the end of September.

MassDOT did not respond to several requests for comment regarding the additional costs and time added to the construction project, which began earlier in the summer.

Deerfield Highway Superintendent Kevin Scarborough said the biggest issue was at the intersection of Elm Street and Greenfield Road, which would have forced fire engines to waste valuable time driving through the downtown area instead of on Routes 5 and 10.

“If there was an accident there at the intersection, which there often is,” Scarborough said in a phone call, “if the Fire Department is leaving and there is a backup, they’re not getting through.”

Deerfield Select Board member Carolyn Shores Ness said frustration is building within the town and MassDOT hasn’t relayed a timeline for when the project will be done. “The town is frustrated because this is high-tourist volume on our roadways and this is our business’ peak visiting season,” Shores Ness said in a phone interview. “Tree House (Brewing) and different businesses on (Routes) 5 and 10 are adversely affected because of this.”

She added MassDOT’s construction project is constricting one of the “main arteries” into South Deerfield and the resulting downtown traffic has become a lot to handle.

“Traffic volume into downtown Deerfield has increased,” Shores Ness said. “Having this project lag and not moving along at a clip has been frustrating.”

Shores Ness said MassDOT is addressing the situation because the islands posed “a safety issue.”

“They’re in the process of fixing it, which is good. They didn’t leave us hanging,” Shores Ness said. “Even though we’re frustrated, we understand.”


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