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image003-13MassDOT is announcing that it is beginning preparation work for the resurfacing and road improvement project on Main Street, (Route 28), in Reading. This project includes new lane configurations, the installation of new traffic signals, resurfacing work and other measures which, in part, will create lane set-ups for a “road diet” pilot program.

MassDOT and municipal officials have collaborated on this safety improvement project since 2018. The goal is to reduce the number of crashes and severity of crashes along this heavily traveled corridor, with the use of new infrastructure elements to slow down vehicle speeds and simplify left turns.

Roadway and safety improvements include:

Testing and evaluating a ‘road diet.’
Upgrades to five state-owned traffic signals.
Sidewalk repairs, including ADA improvements, such as ramp additions.
Roadway resurfacing which includes new pavement and pavement markings

MassDOT’s safety studies along Main Street, (Route 28), found Main Street has 2.5 times more vehicle on vehicle crashes than similar roadways in the region, and found excessive vehicle speeding above the posted speed limit. High speeds along the undivided four-lane corridor make left-turns difficult and increase the risk of severe crashes.

About the “Road Diet” Pilot

image002-11Road diets are proven safety countermeasures that reduce the number of conflict points and make travel safer for all roadway users. A study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) found that four-lane to three-lane road diets reduce the total number of crashes by 19 to 47 percent. Some road diets have shown an even greater improvement—as much as a 70 percent reduction in crashes along a single stretch of road.

The road diet pilot on Main Street will reconfigure travel lanes within the existing roadway to create a center left-turn lane along the corridor and dedicated left-turn lanes at signalized intersections. This reconfiguration of travel lanes will simplify turning movements for cars, help provide more consistent traffic flow, and reduce the likelihood of severe crashes and injuries for drivers and pedestrians.

Today, Main Street has four travel lanes consisting of two 10.5’ travel lanes in each direction. During the road diet pilot, some sections of Main Street will be reduced from four lanes to three lanes. The most typical pilot configuration will include 11′ travel lanes and 5′ shoulders on both sides of the road with a 12′ center turn lane.
Project Area
Resurfacing work and the road diet pilot will take place on two sections of Main Street (Route 28). The north section begins at the Reading/North Reading town line and extends to Charles Street. The south section begins at the MBTA Haverhill Commuter Rail tracks and continues south to I-95; however, the road diet pilot in this area will end between Summer Avenue and Hopkins Street. The work does not include any changes to Reading Square.

Preparation work for resurfacing and the road diet pilot is underway. The road diet pilot will run from late April to fall 2020.

Pilot Details

The purpose of the Road Diet Pilot is to simulate traffic conditions that will be experienced under a proposed road diet. The Road Diet Pilot will remain in place for approximately five months for the collection of traffic data. The traffic data collected during the Pilot Program will be analyzed and compared to the traffic conditions previously projected in the engineering consultant models for the effects of the lane reduction and assessment of the overall performance and impacts to the local roadway network.

To determine if the pilot is successful, MassDOT will monitor and evaluate vehicle speeds, travel times, traffic volumes and impacts, and the experience of the public using the road and sidewalks. Data to be evaluated will include traffic counts, speed trials, and observations. Public input during the pilot will also help MassDOT determine the final pavement markings. If it is determined that safety is not improved and traffic impacts reach unacceptable levels for an extended period of time, traffic patterns will be returned to the original pre-pilot conditions by the end of 2020.

Please visit the project website for more information about the project and upcoming public involvement opportunities.

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