December 1, 2020 by Carol Britton Meyer
The design plans for safety improvements along the Route 3A, Rotary, and Summer Street corridor – which have been in the development stage for more than a decade and include a modern roundabout, improved pedestrian walkways, and a "road diet" on Summer Street between Martins Lane and the Rotary – will be presented during a remote meeting Tuesday, Dec. 8, starting at 7 p.m.
The redesign of the state-owned corridor -- geared toward enhancing the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists – is scheduled for construction in 2025. The Hingham Route 3A Task Force was created to manage the project locally.
The bounds of the project are from the intersection of Otis Street and Broad Cove Road to the intersection of George Washington Boulevard and Rockland Street.
The Town of Hingham started discussions about safety improvements along this corridor in 2009 with a focus on redesign of the Hingham Rotary. In 2015, Town Meeting voted affirmatively on a citizens' petition to address the frequency of high-injury accidents at Summer Street and Button Cove Road.
This resulted in the allocation of $575,000 in town funds for engineering design plans. Following that initial investment, the state and federal government are expected to pay the remainder of the estimated $13 million cost. Rep. Joan Meschino and Sen. Patrick O'Connor assisted Hingham in securing state funding.
The project figures into the town’s 2030 Master Plan and a recent Massachusetts Area Planning Council grant for connectivity between Hingham Harbor and the downtown business district.
The design plan also includes a westbound turning lane at the Summer and North Street intersection, traffic signal and intersection improvements, improved pedestrian walkways on both sides of the roadway where possible, landscaping, and a shared-use path along the waterfront, as well as a "road diet."
A pilot "road diet" program was implemented from May 20 through July 26, 2018 in a cooperative effort among Hingham, Hull, and Cohasset town officials.
The purpose of temporarily reducing the four-lane roadway from Muzzi's Corner (included at that time but not in the current plan) to the Hingham Rotary to one travel lane in each direction was to measure in real-time traffic patterns and impacts and to validate computer modeling of proposed long-term safety solutions for the busy corridor.
The pilot "road diet" program was implemented due to speeding issues and the high number of accidents that posed serious safety concerns in that area.
Since 2015, the Town of Hingham has hosted more than a dozen public meetings and worked collaboratively with Hull and Cohasset administrators and public safety officials to ensure that access and public safety concerns are addressed.
Project engineers from Design Consultants, Inc. have been working closely with Hingham's Town Engineer J.R. Frey, the Hingham Route 3A Task Force, and public safety representatives from all three towns to move the project through the Massachusetts Department of Transportation design approval process.
The information to participate in the meeting is as follows: Dial-in number: 1-929-205-6099; meeting ID: 898 1513 8060; passcode: 890991. Website: https://zoom.us/join