$10M for transportation projects slated in South Hadley, Granby, Belchertown

  • Town Planner of Belchertown Douglas Albertson talks along Route 202 about development plans for the area in this March 2016 photo. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 2/8/2019 12:10:37 AM

SOUTH HADLEY — Added bike lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks and repaved roads are coming to a stretch of Route 202 between South Hadley and Granby as part of a state construction project slated to begin in mid-2019.

An additional project involves repaving a stretch of Route 202 from Granby to Belchertown and adding bike lanes beginning in 2022, although no sidewalks or crosswalks will be added. Both projects are funded and being overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

According to MassDOT, the selected stretch of road in South Hadley through Granby, which extends from the Lyman Street intersection to the 5 Corners area, has insufficient pedestrian accommodation, deteriorated pavement and a lack of bike lanes.

In response, the state will add a total of six crosswalks with flashing beacons, repave the road with new signage and markings, add 5-feet wide bike lanes with 3-feet buffer zones, and install accessible sidewalks.

South Hadley Bike/Walk Committee Chairwoman Mariann Millard, whose group helped to advocate for the roadway improvements, said that she believes the project will “give more of a sense of comfort and doability” to those seeking alternatives to driving.

“We have been traditionally a car-centric community,” Millard said, “And I think ... putting in the pedestrian and biking safety improvements will encourage people to say ‘Yes, I can do this road even though it’s pretty busy.’”

“There aren’t a lot of bike lanes in the Pioneer Valley, so any time MassDOT can put in designated bike lanes, that’s just wonderful news for all of it,” she added.

The selected portion of Route 202 was chosen through MassDOT’s pavement management program, which aims “to identify by pavement condition priority areas where we could be looking to invest in restoring the pavement to a good condition,” said Richard Masse, District 2 Project Development Engineer at MassDOT.

One-lane operations are expected during travel lane milling and paving, according to MassDOT, while two lanes will remain open during shoulder milling and paving. “Minor shoulder encroachment” will also occur during curb and sidewalk work.

Overall, the project “shouldn’t have a significant effect on traffic,” said Jim Reidy, South Hadley Department of Public Works Superintendent Jim Reidy.

“We’re very appreciative that the state is redoing this stretch of road and improving the pedestrian and bicycle features,” Reidy said.

Construction for the South Hadley through Granby project will cost an estimated $5.6 million, according to MassDOT, and will be funded through the 2019 Transportation Improvement Program for the Pioneer Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The Belchertown and Granby portion will cost an estimated $4.5 million from 2022 funding, and will extend from the Five Corners area of Granby to around Route 21 in Belchertown.

Millard added that the roadway improvements are part of a collaborative effort to shift Pioneer Valley toward taking to the streets on foot or on bike.

“I feel like our time has arrived,” Millard said, “And we’re just so encouraged by the positive response to biking and walking in town.”

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.

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