MassDOT envisions roundabout

A diagram of a proposed roundabout to improve traffic safety at the intersection of Randolph Avenue and Chickatawbut Road in Milton as presented by MassDOT.

Randolph Avenue and its intersection with Chickatawbut Road was called everything from deadly to a drag strip when about 50 residents turned out at a meeting about the state’s top pick to fix the intersection: a roundabout.

Regarding what is classified as the seventh most dangerous intersection in Massachusetts, transportation officials sought to explain to residents on the night of July 23 the benefits of the roundabout over the more conventional option of adding turning lanes and updated traffic signals.

Many residents expressed skepticism that adding a roundabout and removing the traffic lights will give them the relief they desire from the congestion, high speeds, and safety concerns along the overtaxed Randolph Avenue, also known as Route 28.

After the presentation, state Rep. Bill Driscoll Jr. reinforced the “urgent need for action at this dangerous intersection” but said he was concerned that state officials have now apparently delayed its anticipated start by about three years.

“What is unacceptable is that MassDOT has continued to push out the project start date... during each of the last two formal meetings," he said in a statement.

A date for advertising the project was originally set for 2019 but representatives stated at the meeting that due to the project’s complexity, construction will likely not start until 2023

At the meeting, Select Board Chair Mike Zullas thanked town officials for their work on what he called “a life or death issue.”

State Sen. Walter Timilty said the project will address two main goals to enhance the level of public safety and the quality of life for residents of Milton and the surrounding region.

Michael Trepanier of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) said the state has been studying the “very dangerous intersection” for several years and were “surprised” when the data showed that a roundabout was the best fix.

The study, which included a road safety audit, was done in conjunction with design consultants Howard Stein Hudson and showed that the roundabout would improve both safety and mobility through the intersection more than adding lanes and new lights, he said.

“Our goal is to improve this dangerous intersection,” Trepanier said.

While a final decision has not yet been made, he said, “We’ve made a decision to advance the roundabout as our preferred alternative.”

Trepanier explained that the roundabout is different from the “antiquated” rotaries commonly found in the area.

The roundabout would be of a modern design that narrows down traffic and provides more structured traffic lanes.

The roundabout would force traffic to slow down to about 25 miles per hour.

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