WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington’s State Representative Jim Miceli and State Senator Bruce Tarr both recently sent letters to Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary Stephanie Pollack, asking her to include the Butters Row Bridge Replacement and the town’s Route 38 Improvement Project in the state’s next Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) cycle.
“The Butters Row Bridge is extremely old, approaching one hundred years, and is capable of only holding a single lane of traffic, as it is only thirteen and half feet across,” wrote Miceli. “The span is built on timbers over the Boston and Maine rail trackage used by the MBTA, and is a great danger to public safety.”
“In addition to being unable to bear the weight of a firetruck or ambulance, the bridge offers not protection to residents on foot, as it has no sidewalk,” noted Miceli. “This has led to many close calls with bicyclists and foot-traffic, who play a literal game of chicken with oncoming traffic to cross safely…. I worry daily about a youngest making the wrong choice, and potentially losing their life.”
“This bridge is of major concern to the town, especially when considering its frequently/daily use,” added Tarr. “I note that the town recently completed construction of the Yentile Farm Recreational area. Located approximately 700 feet from the bridge, this new facility is expected to generate significant youth pedestrian traffic from the Butters Row and the Chestnut Street neighborhood. Given the increased safety concerns, replacement of this bridge is essential to the safety of motorist and pedestrians alike.”
MassDOT previously agreed to initiate a project for the bridge replacement. The replacement is slated to take place in federal fiscal year 2021 (October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021). Miceli and Tarr’s letters are an attempt to ensure the replacement is kept on schedule, or possibly sped up.
The town is also eyeing significant improvements to a 2-mile stretch of Route 38. The improvements would begin at the intersection of Route 38 and 62, and continue all the way south two miles to the Wilmington/Woburn town line.
The project make significant improvements to the roadway, sidewalks, utilities and landscaping. The project will (1) improve overall safety and traffic operations; (2) replace or add new sidewalk connections to address lack of continuous pedestrian facilities; (3) fix wide driveway openings and poorly defined roadway; (4) make drainage improvements; (5) make water & sewer improvements; and (6) improvement aesthetics along the roadway (e.g., railroad adjacent to the Route 38/62 intersection).
Throughout the entire 2-mile stretch of road, there would now be 11-foot travel lanes and 5-foot shoulders. There would also be a sidewalk added to the east side of the road from Main Street to Cross Street and a sidewalk on the west side of the road from Triple Nickel Autobody to the Woburn line, linking Yentile Farm with the Town Dog Park with sidewalks. Various safety and wait time improvements would be made at four key intersections along the corridor, including (1) Route 38/Route 62, (2) Route 38/Route 129, (3) Route 38/Cross Street/Butters Row, and (4) Route 38/Old Main Street.
“Route 38 is an extremely important road, as it provides arterial access from Route 93, Route 128/I95, and other roads to Tewksbury, Billerica, and other communities as it passes through Wilmington,” wrote Miceli. “The vast majority of business, industry and residences in Wilmington funnel to Route 38 during peak hours, using it to conduct their business and livelihood. Wilmington has designed and proposed a number of great improvements that will allow the town to adapt and grow while keeping traffic flow smooth, and also allow for future development in the area.”
“The Route 38 improvement project is important to both the Town of Wilmington and the Commonwealth as a whole. Not only does it improve a section of Route 38 between the Woburn time line and Route 62 (Church Street/Burlington Avenue), but also a portion of Route 38, which connects Route 129 with Interstate 95/Route 128,” added Tarr. “In addition to carrying regional traffic, Route 38 functions as an urban artery, serving numerous destinations throughout the Town of Wilmington.”
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