Jul 28, 2014

The 'Alarming Accident Rate' at Intersection of Routes 9 and 20

The chief of police asks the highway director to take action. Twenty-eight accident investigations have occurred this year alone so far.

The 'Alarming Accident Rate' at Intersection of Routes 9 and 20

This month, Police Chief Mark Leahy issued a letter to Ronald E. Dionne, the district highway director of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Leahy, in his letter, urged Dionne to assist the police, and town, in reducing the number of accidents that have escalated since Northborough Crossing has opened.

Below is Leahy's letter to Dionne:

Dear Mr. Dionne,

I am writing to you concerning an alarming accident rate on the ramps at the intersection of Route 9 and 20 in Northborough. While this has always been a high accident area, the impact of the new Northborough Crossing shopping complex and Avalon Northborough apartment community has sent these statistics skyrocketing.

Of the greatest concern are the 28 accident investigations we have conducted between Jan. 1 and June 30 of this year at the top of the on-ramp from Route 20 to Route 9 West, where there is a stop sign and no acceleration lane entering onto Route 9 West. Six people were injured in these collisions. These accidents are all rear-end collisions when people either don’t expect to encounter a stop sign at the top of an entrance ramp, or they stop properly, start to go and then hesitate and stop, only to be struck by the vehicle behind who thought they had departed. Beyond the 28 investigations we conducted, another 23 were reported to us after the fact and the motorists exchanged information between themselves and did not call us.

The off-ramp from Route 9 West to Route 20 West saw another eight collisions, all rear-enders at the stop sign at the end of the off-ramp. An additional 10 collisions were reported to us after the fact and did not seek a police response.

There were 12 additional crashes on/at the other ramps at this interchange, for a total of 81 collisions in the first six months of 2012.

The lack of an acceleration lane when traffic attempts to join Route 9 West from Route 20 is our biggest problem, yet our most easily fixed. Land exists to construct an acceleration lane in this location, with an accommodating grade and little clearing required.

The collisions that occurred at the bottom of the off-ramp from Route 9 West to Route 20 West is easily fixed by bringing the ramp to a “T” at Route 20 and installing a traffic control signal. This would help eliminate the considerable traffic backups that occur there every afternoon.

I am writing to ask for help in reducing these avoidable collisions and I will gladly assist you in any way possible. All accident reports have been assembled for easy review.

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