Western Avenue changes detailed

Residents along Western Avenue and Court Street point to various parts of a satellite photo of the Western Avenue area that will be affected by a proposed roadway improvement project. More than 200 residents gathered at Highland Elementary School last night to listen to a presentation by representatives of Milone & MacBroom, project engineers. (Photo by chief photographer Frederick Gore)

WESTFIELD – The preliminary project plans, as presented by the City Engineering Department and Milone & MacBroom of Springfield, span 2.4 miles of roadway. The plans presented last night are preliminary and comments offered by residents may be included into the 25 percent design plan submitted to the state Department of Transportation for review as the project design proceeds. Western Avenue is classified as an Urban Minor Arterial.
–Project was initiated 10 years ago as a simple repaving effort, but deterioration of road pavement includes subsurface base, requiring the entire reconstruction of the roadway, with upgrade to subsurface utilities including sewers, water lines, storm drainage system, and gas lines. Much of the infrastructure improvements have been completed, remaining to be done before or in conjunction with road reconstruction.
–Several intersections will be reconstructed with a revised configuration.
-Intersection of Western Avenue, Bates Road and Upper Western Avenue, now a “Y” intersection, will be reconfigured with Upper Western Avenue being turned 90 degrees to the north to intersect Bates Road, with a proposed stop sign for traffic control.
-The double intersection of Laura Drive and the South Commuter Parking Lot, now in parallel, will be modified. Parking lot access/exit will be turned 90 degrees to the west to intersect Laura Drive, dedicated turning lane added to Laura Drive, traffic signal installation being evaluated.
-Intersection of Westwood Drive and main commuter parking lot will also be redesigned. Commuter parking lot access/exit moved east to better align with Westwood Drive, utility pole in middle of parking lot access relocated to remove obstacle, dedicated turning lanes installed, new traffic signal installed.
–Western Avenue between Stanley Park, Woodward Center and Horace Mann Center will be extensively modified, with dedicated left turning lanes for westbound traffic at both Western Avenue access points into Stanley Park and dedicated left turn lanes for eastbound traffic to enter Woodward Center and Horace Mann Center. Road expansion will be shifted toward WSU to preserve as many mature trees along Stanley Park as possible. Plan includes installation of traffic islands to serve as pedestrian sanctuaries, textured crosswalks installed to highlight their locations.
-Intersection of Lloyds Hill Road and Western Avenue will be modified to include a dedicated left turn lane for eastbound traffic, but no proposal to install traffic signal as requested by several residents.
-Granville Road and Western Avenue, no plan for any major modification, although traffic signal with pedestrian control requested by residents.
-Intersection of Western Avenue and West Silver Street, no major reconfiguration, but residents concerned with speed of traffic coming off Western Avenue.
-Intersection of Court, Mill and High streets, present traffic islands removed, dedicated turning lane reconstructed, new traffic signals installed.
-Intersection of West Silver and Mill streets, no major reconfiguration, and new traffic signals installed.
-Five-foot wide shoulders will be installed on both sides of Western Avenue to accommodate bicycle traffic, designers are attempting to avoid installation of formal bicycle lanes that have state and federal requirements that would substantially increase footprint of new pavement required for the project.
-New curbing throughout entire project scope.
-Stormwater drainage improvements, with extension of other subsurface utilities, water services in particular, to residential streets, installation of new fire hydrants.

To see the plans for Western Avenue, Court Street, and Bates Road, click here.

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