EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


August 20, 2013

Merchants, residents: Central Square traffic still a mess

Council invites people to discuss complaints tonight

HAVERHILL — Merchants and residents of Bradford’s busy Central Square were united in opposing the state’s plan to limit traffic on a stretch of South Central Street to one direction.

City councilors also opposed the move.

Prior to the change in May, the council voted three times to oppose it, while business owners and people who live near the square rallied against the plan at several public meetings.

Merchants and property owners said the change would hurt business and lower real estate values. Residents said it would lead to more traffic on narrow residential streets behind the square, due to motorists and school buses from a company on South Central Street seeking other ways to reach Route 125.

Councilor William Macek said the concerns of those who opposed making the road one way have come to fruition.

Macek said the council plans to discuss the matter at tonight’s meeting. He is inviting anyone with concerns about the new traffic flow to attend the meeting at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

“I’d like to see the roadway reconfigured back to two ways,” Macek said yesterday. “Traffic is really bad behind the square. School buses are already a problem and the new school year hasn’t even started yet.”

Restricting traffic to one-way on South Central Street, leading away from the square, was part of the state’s reconstruction of Route 125, which included redesigning and rebuilding Central Square for improved traffic flow.

State officials said keeping South Central Street two ways, once the new traffic lights there was activated, would have caused Route 125 to back up all the way to Salem Street near Bradford Common during peak traffic times in the afternoon.

Macek said the city is running out of time to get the state to pay to change the roadway back to two ways, because the state is scheduled to finish the Route 125 project this fall and hand control of the square back to the city.

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