HAVERHILL — Since summer, businesses owners, residents and city councilors have spoken against the state’s plan to convert South Central Street in Bradford’s busy Central Square to a one-way road.
Merchants and property owners said the change would hurt business and lower real estate values. Residents fear it will lead to more traffic on narrow residential roads behind the square because motorists will seek new routes to South Main Street.
There’s also concern about safety impacts to nearby Sacred Hearts School, as drivers are diverted from South Central to South Chestnut Street, which runs past the day care and elementary school.
State Department of Transportation officials responded to the city’s concerns last week. The response: They’re making South Central Street one way anyway.
“The state agrees they never looked at the impacts to businesses and residents or the school, but instead of coming back with those answers, they just said, ‘We’re going to make it one way anyway,’” said Fred Malcolm, owner of an insurance company at 3 S. Central St. “They made a mistake and for reasons I can’t figure out, they’re not willing to fix it.”
Neighbor Anna Frusca said not just businesses are upset about the state’s plans for the street. She said 30 or 40 people who live in the area signed a petition against the plan.
“It’s going to create a lot more traffic on my road, on all the roads behind the square,” Frusca said. “And we’re talking about school buses and big trucks. This doesn’t make sense to anyone. Nobody wants it.”
As part of the state’s massive reconstruction of Route 125, which is also South Main Street, early next summer the state plans to restrict traffic to one direction, leading away from the square, on a 250-foot stretch of South Central Street.