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November 11, 2013

Pelham officials seek Route 38 safety measures

Pelham officials look to DOT for help with dangerous intersection

PELHAM — Town officials are pressing the state for traffic safety improvements at the intersection of Route 38 and Old Gage Hill Road.

Selectmen are expected to meet with representatives of the state Department of Transportation later this month.

“We’re going to have something really bad happen there one day if we don’t figure out something,” Planning Director Jeff Gowan recently told selectmen.

He found agreement from board members.

“We ought to be pushing that,” selectmen’s Chairman Ed Gleason said.

Officials discussed the intersection when Gowan briefed them on community transportation issues.

Gowan said a road safety assessment by DOT concluded clearing brush around the intersection would help, but he’s not convinced.

“That does not make sense to me,” he said. “It’s the crest of the hill. If it was about cutting some trees, we would have done that a long time ago.”

That’s not the only intersection troubling town officials.

They also are eager to have the state move forward on safety improvements at Mammoth and Sherburne Roads.

Selectman William McDevitt expressed frustration over a lack of action from DOT to improve the intersection.

Gowan said DOT officials have blamed lack of funding.

He said he would love to see a separate turning lane from Sherburne Road to Mammoth Road.

“That does not seem an inordinately expensive thing to do,” Gowan said.

The intersections are a state issue because Route 38 and Mammoth Road, which is Route 128, are state roads.

McDevitt wondered whether town officials should even bother meeting with DOT representatives, if the agency can’t do anything.

But Gleason took a different view.

“I’ve always been of the attitude that the squeaky wheel gets the oil,” he said.

Talking to state officials on a regular basis led the state to move ahead with the roundabouts project in town, he said.

“We’re motivating them to do something,” he said.

Gowan, meanwhile, said he’s trying to get details from state officials on when utility work will be done that is necessary before the roundabouts are completed.

He said he wants to avoid a situation next year where officials and contractors are saying the project is held up because of utility delays.

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