Nonantum Road construction continues in Watertown


by Jeremy C. Fox, Watertown TAB

Construction has kicked off along Nonantum Road in Watertown and Newton. And while it’s going according to plan, it will continue for quite some time.

Long sections of the road have been blocked by orange traffic drums as workers tear up and replace parts of road and move line markings.page1image11440

“We are on schedule with the Nonantum Road project,” said Massachusetts Department of Transportation spokesman Adam Hurtubise. “We’re under construction now, and we have an anticipated completion date in May of 2012.”

The broad road winds along the southern bank of the Charles River from Galen Street in South Watertown through Newton to Soldiers Field Road in Brighton. It has been the site of many traffic accidents and a few fatalities.

A 2006 study by the DCR found a total of 87 accidents with 50 injuries from 2002 to 2004. More recently, a 26-year-old Waltham woman died when she lost control of her SUV in December 2008 and crashed into the Charles River.

Last November, a 19-year-old Allston man lost control of his Honda Accord while speeding down the road and slammed into a tree, which stopped the car from flying into the Charles River

The frequent accidents compelled local officials, state lawmakers and groups like the Newton Corner Neighborhood Association to take measures to make the road and intersection safer for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

The project will narrow the roadway from two travel lanes in each direction to just one eastbound and one westbound lane, with turning lanes at major intersections. A four-foot, flush median will be added between the two lanes to prevent head-on collisions.

The redesign’s $5.3 million price tag is covered as part of $155 million allocated for local road projects in the commonwealth from federal stimulus funds.

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