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Long road to fixing gridlock; DOT does number check on 9, I-495.

Byline: Donna Boynton

WESTBORO - Saying traffic is only going to worsen over the next 25 years on the region's three main highways, Massachusetts Department of Transportation officials and their consultants met yesterday with local municipal and business leaders to discuss changes under consideration to reduce traffic congestion.

The meeting yesterday morning was an update on a 2011 federally funded study primarily focused on the Interstate 495/Route 9 area, also including the Massachusetts Turnpike. Recommendations are scheduled to be released in September, followed by the final report in December.

Among the possible improvements under consideration:

Realigning the ramps on Interstate 495 and Route 9.

Adding a lane on Route 9 from I-495 to Computer Drive in Westboro.

Improving the Route 9 intersection at Crystal Pond Road to include a jug handle to eliminate U-turns at the intersection and a flyover ramp for left turns from Crystal Pond Road.

Eliminating a portion of the median on I-495 to add so-called "collector-distributor" roads.

The transportation department is also evaluating transportation alternatives such as bus service to the area, a commuter rail shuttle service between Westboro and Southboro, and bus lanes and park-and-ride lots.

The I-495/Route 9 Interchange Improvement Study builds off the recommendations of a 2009 study by the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The study had identified safety and congestion issues in the area.

The state Transportation Department will review the plans and comments received on the options, as well as gathering cost estimates for some of the alternatives.

Another presentation will be made in Southboro next month at a date yet to be determined.

ART: MAP

CUTLINE: Interchange improvement study

PHOTOG: T&G Staff
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 28, 2012
Words:281
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