MassDOT taking over public outreach for Northampton roundabout project

  • The intersection of North King Street (Rt. 5), left, and Hatfield Street, right, in Northampton, looking south. Photographed on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A planned roundabout for the intersection would go through a site where artifacts estimated to be at least 8,000 years old were found.

Staff Writer
Published: 2/3/2021 8:44:26 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A total of 579 pages of comments were submitted about a controversial roundabout project through a state public comment period that was officially open for about two weeks before the state called it off early.

Those letters are now available to the public as part of a new Massachusetts Department of Transportation public information platform about the project.

MassDOT is now soliciting public comments on its own and will hold a live public meeting about the project on Feb. 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. More details will be available on its website.

A virtual meeting room, which includes recorded presentations, will also be available on the MassDOT website through Feb. 17, according to a message from Bryan Cordeiro of MassDOT that was sent through the Northampton Department of Planning and Sustainability last week. Cordeiro did not respond immediately to a call or email from the Gazette.

The project, planned for the intersection of North King Street and Hatfield Street, would go through a site where artifacts estimated to be at least 8,000 years old were found, stirring opposition, including a petition with more than 50,000 signatures to stop the project.

The state had announced a public comment period in December that would have extended from late December through Jan. 12 as part of a Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act review, but, that comment period was called off early. “Due to extensive public comments received on the project, MassDOT informed Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act office that it intends to conduct its own public outreach for the project to properly address and respond to the comments received,” a spokesperson for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs said last month.

Now public comment on the project can be submitted through the MassDOT website through early March.

The virtual meeting room includes information about why MassDOT is planning the roundabout, the Environmental Policy Act review process and the project design.

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