Town Officials Lobby State To Fund Route 38 Reconstruction, From Woburn Line To Route 62 Intersection

WILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington Board of Selectmen and the town’s legislative delegation are lobbying the state to secure funding for the reconstruction of the Route 38 (Main Street) corridor from Route 62 south to the Wilmington/Woburn line.

“This project will reduce traffic congestion along the corridor, improve safety and traffic operations, and provide healthy transportation alternatives for our community,” wrote Selectman Chair Kevin Caira in a recent letter to the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization. “This section of Route 38 serves as the conduit to the commercial center of the Town, with various retail, restaurant and commercial land uses along its length. In addition, local community amenities along this corridor include the recently constructed Yentile Farm Recreational Facility, the Wilmington Dog Park, Middlesex Canal and Aprile Field at Town Park, make this project of particular significance to the Town.”

“The Town has funded design through the 25% design phase; with MassDOT funding the remaining design work to completion given the roadway is under MassDOT jurisdiction,” wrote State Representatives Dave Robertson and Ken Gordon, and State Senator Bruce Tarr, in another letter to the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization. “Considering this joint effort for design services, we are relying on the MPO to [schedule] this complete streets project in the FY2020-2024 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for construction funding so that we can advance to construction as soon as possible.”

This Route 38 improvement project has several goals, including:

  • Improve overall safety and traffic operations
  • Replace or add new sidewalk connections (e.g., Yentile Farm to Town Dog Park) to address lack of continuous pedestrian facilities
  • Fix wide driveway openings and poorly defined roadway
  • Make drainage improvements
  • Make water and sewer main improvements
  • Improve aesthetics along the roadway (e.g., railroad adjacent to the Route 38/62 intersection)

The two-mile stretch of Route 38 under consideration for improvements has 12,500 to 21,000 vehicles travel it daily.  The peak traffic periods are 7:15am to 8:15m and 5pm to 6pm. There are two existing traffic signals — at the Route 38/62 intersection and at the Route 38/129 intersection.  There are no turn-lanes along Route 38 except at signalized intersections.

The project will be designed to (1) meet MassDOT funding requirements, (2) limit impacts to wetlands and abutters; and (3) make significant improvements to the roadway, sidewalks, utilities and landscaping. Throughout the entire 2-mile stretch of road, there will be 11-foot travel lanes and 5-foot shoulders.  There will also be a sidewalk on 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.

Improvements will take place at four key intersections:

Route 38/Route 62: The intersection grade would remain an F because new lanes can’t be added due to buildings on the corner, the bridge, and the retaining wall and railroad tracks.  Several improvements would be realized, however.  A left turn pocket would be created southbound to make it easier to turn left.  2 receiving lanes northbound would make it easier to go straight in that direction. Some businesses at the intersection are using on-street parking, which is not allowed on a state highway.  The town would work with them to find another parking arrangement, freeing up more of the roadway for travel.  The traffic lighting signalization would be vastly improved. If no improvements are made, it was suggested that the average traffic delay at the intersection would be 200 seconds within 20 years.  If the proposal goes through, the delay would be knocked down to just 80 seconds. From an aesthetic stand point, the tracks would be screened by trees.

Route 38/Route 129: The intersection wouldn’t look a whole lot different. Lane configuration remains the same, with the left turn lane on Route 62 lengthened a bit and a 5-foot shoulder added throughout the area. The intersection grade would improve from a C to B in the morning, and remain a C at night.

Route 38/Cross Street/Butters Row: Butters Row would be significantly realigned and Cross Street would be slightly realigned so that Route 38, Cross Street, and Butters Row all line up at the intersection. Additionally, crosswalks and ADA compliant wheelchair ramps would be installed at the intersection. And a new sidewalk would connect Yentile Farm to the Town Dog Park and Aprile Field.  The intersection grade would improve from an F to a C.

Route 38/Old Main Street: Old Main Street would be significantly realigned so that it comes into Route 38 at a 90 angle.  The improvements would provide a more defined entrance to Old Main Street and make for a more defined intersection.  The intersection has a “pretty significant” crash history, attributed to the awkward intersection with a severe skew angle. The intersection does not currently have a grade.

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