Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray Friday afternoon joined federal, state, and local officials to announce $8 million in funding from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to mitigate chronic traffic congestion at the intersections of Route 126 and Route 135 in downtown Framingham.
“The intersection of the Railroad, Route 126 and Route 135 in the heart of downtown Framingham has been a bottleneck since the advent of the automobile,” said Framingham State Rep. Chris Walsh.
Murray also announced an additional $350,000 in funding awarded by MassDOT to support a study that will evaluate four potential solutions identified by previous studies and help the state and Town of Framingham move towards a long-term solution for addressing traffic at this critical intersection in Framingham’s downtown district.
“The intersection of Routes 126 and 135, or Concord Street and Waverly Street, have experienced significant delays for vehicles and pedestrian traffic for decades,” said Murray. “Despite planning reports and studies over the years, a viable solution has not been addressed. However, our Administration has stayed at the table in working with local officials to be proactive and this funding will provide much needed relief for downtown commuters, residents, and businesses.”
The $8 million in funding, including state and federal funding, will be incorporated by MassDOT and the Town of Framingham through improvements into the existing project to upgrade Route 126 between Lincoln Street and Irving Street, currently in the design phase and expected to be advertised in Fiscal Year 2013. Upon completion of this project, MassDOT will observe traffic conditions in the corridor and report back on the change in congestion and queuing with the new designs.
“The revitalization of downtown Framingham and the traffic improvements to this busy intersection will benefit local businesses and commuters alike,” said Congressman Edward Markey in a statement. “Today marks the first step in providing long overdue relief to the traffic congestion that has hampered this community for years."
"A safe, reliable transportation system is essential to a healthy and vibrant economy," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey. "The improvements we make at this intersection will help reduce traffic and improve public safety for the residents and visitors of this busy community."
Infrastructure improvements to remediate traffic at this intersection will include upgrades to the existing signal equipment, installation of improved crosswalks and ADA ramps, installation of more advanced train pre-emption systems, upgraded traffic signal plans and/or the use of Adaptive Signal Control. To assist in the evaluation of corridor improvements, MassDOT is currently drafting a Road Safety Audit along the Route 126 corridor. The audit will be ready later this year.
“Resolving the problem of traffic gridlock created by the railroad grade crossing and the intersection of Routes 126 and 135 is critical to the future of downtown Framingham,” said Framingham Town Manager Bob Halpin.
"I am very pleased that these short-term solutions to the at-grade crossing issue are moving forward immediately to improve our public safety, economic prosperity, and quality of life,” said State Sen. Karen Spilka, who represents Framingham. “We have taken many steps to spur economic growth in our community and in order to fully revitalize downtown Framingham, we must resolve and remediate this intersection once and for all. This critical project hinges on not only financial support but also on continued collaboration on all levels - state, federal and local - going forward so that a long-term plan can be finalized to give Framingham the permanent solution it has spent the last 100 years waiting for.”
“Now as we are planning and working to rebuild our transportation system to work for us in the 21st century it is imperative that this intersection be upgraded. The Patrick-Murray Administration has been working with state and local officials to improve both the commuter rail reliability and traffic congestion and this project is a huge first step in creating both a high speed rail link to Worcester while maximizing the livability, walk-ability and quality of life in downtown Framingham," said walsh
“Downtown Framingham is critical to economic growth in the region,” said State Rep. Tom Sannicandro. “As we ease the traffic in this area and fix the rail crossing, we’re going to see more commerce, more businesses open, more jobs, and economic development that will benefit all of the MetroWest.”