Phillipston seeks traffic study

  • Two small picture signs are all that warn motorists traveling on Route 2A that they are approaching the Phillipston Fire Station. The Phillipston Selectmen have agreed to seek a Department of Transportation traffic study along that stretch of road. ATHOL DAILY NEWS/DEBORRAH PORTER

  • The Phillipston Selectmen will request a traffic study for a section of Route 2A, from the King Phillip Restaurant to the Market Basket lights in Athol. It will include the divided section that serves East-bound onramp traffic. Officials say the study is necessary because of the increase in traffic due to growth. ATHOL DAILY NEWS/DEBORRAH PORTER

  • This is the view of Route 2A that Phillipston firefighters have when exiting the fire station. Oncoming traffic is difficult to see due to the rise in the roadway. Officials have requested the Department of Transportation conduct a traffic study, with the result approval of a light to control traffic when the apparatus is exiting the complex. ATHOL DAILY NEWS/DEBORRAH PORTER

Staff Writer
Published: 7/17/2018 10:52:22 PM
Modified: 7/17/2018 10:52:28 PM

ATHOL — Prompted by a recommendation from state Sen. Anne Gobi, the Selectboard voted to make a formal request to the Department of Transportation to conduct a traffic study along Route 2A.

Gobi had received a letter from resident Marilyn Holway citing the need for a study along a section in front of the Fire Station, 90 State Road (Route 2A).

Highway Department Superintendent Rick Tenney endorsed the move Monday night, saying it will determine whether a change in the speed limit, or additional signage, is warranted through that section.

Holway suggested a study be done from Highland Avenue to Blake Corner, but Tenney, who agreed that Highland Avenue is a blind drive and needs attention, recommended the study be expanded on Route 2A to Exit 18, covering the area from the King Phillip Restaurant to Market Basket in Athol. He also recommended that traffic lights and signage be installed at the Fire Station.

Fire Chief Richard Stevens said Tuesday that there is a need for traffic control in the area of the Fire Station. That section is posted at 40 mph and motorists traveling west on Route 2A have little notice of the fire station on the right, tucked away from the highway. There is a slight rise in the road from the King Phillip Restaurant, making it difficult for fire apparatus to see the vehicles, especially smaller, compact vehicles.

“If we are successful, we would have to locate a light further back towards the King Phillip, and further down in the other direction,” he said, to warn people in plenty of time. There are two small, yellow antique signs on the side of the road indicating there is a fire station ahead. The signs show a simple outline of an antique fire truck, and have no wording. “It’s not helping,” he said, noting that “the town is getting bigger. There is an influx of roughly 500 people during the summer months.” He was referring to the 150 private camps at Queen Lake. “It’s seasonal, but it increases traffic and our EMS and fire call volume goes up.”

He said it is “becoming cumbersome” getting out of the fire station into traffic. He said Route 2A traffic has increased overall, because people do not like to drive on the section of Route 2 commonly known as “Death Valley” and “Suicide Alley.

“It’s dangerous. A lot of people get off at Exit 19 and take 2A all the way to Orange,” he said.

There have been five fatalities along that stretch of Route 2, and the yellow reflective stanchions along that section of highway may help define the roadway at night, but do little to stop vehicles from crossing the center line. The popularity of North Quabbin Commons at the new Market Basket and new movie theater has also added to traffic volume.

Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Flynn said the DOT traffic study will be justification for a signal at the fire station.

The selectmen voted to request a traffic study from the King Phillip to Market Basket. It was noted the on-ramp to Route 2 East will be included in the study. There will be no cost to the town for the study.

Deer crossing

Tenney reported he has received some requests for specific signage (for deer and turtle crossings) in various parts of town. He has spoken with the animal control officer and it was noted that deer cross nearly every road in town. “This could open a can of worms,” said Tenney, “I don’t think we should get into ducking, turtle, salamander (etc.) crossing signs — we’d have them on every road.”

“We live in a rural area.” said Selectman Terry Dymek. “It’s expected. Although they travel kind of fast on Royalston Road.”

It was noted that motorists speed on many roads in town, and “slow” or “reduce speed” signs would not be that effective.

Town Hall deed

Flynn reported the roof on Town Hall, built in 1891, has been replaced and a copy of the deed is needed to record the work with the Massachusetts Historical Commission. The deed has been recorded, but it is not in digital format. Flynn said the town has two options: to hire a surveyor (at a cost of roughly $1,500), or hire a title examiner (a more expensive route). Reginald Haughon Jr. of the Board of Assessors asked whether the state would accept an abstract of the document. Flynn will check on that. Haughton said it might take a couple hours of work to find the deed.

No outlet

Sterling Whiting requested the town install a “No Outlet” sign on Lincoln Road.

He said an 18-wheeler turned down the dead-end road recently by mistake and it took some time turning around. Road Boss Tenney said a “No Outlet” sign has already been ordered.

Election workers

The Selectmen appointed the following election workers for Fiscal year 2019:

Nancy MacEwen, Warden (Unenrolled); Brenda Nolan, Deputy Warden (Unenrolled); Kim Pratt, Clerk, (Unenrolled); Barbara Sanden, Deputy Clerk (Republican); Emelda Haughton, Inspector, (Unenrolled); Rose Frizzell, Inspector (Democrat); Susan Larrabee, Deputy Inspector (Unenrolled); Andrea Flagg, Deputy Inspector (Democrat); Jane French, Inspector (Unenrolled); Victoria Chartier, Deputy Inspector (Unenrolled); Heidi Aukstikalnis, Deputy Inspector (Unenrolled); Laurie Lyons, Teller/Counter (Unenrolled).


The Selectmen appointed the following employees: Part-time police officer, Dan LeBlanc, term expires June 30, 2019; Selectboard/Chief Administrative Officer, Kevin Flynn, term expires June 30, 2021; Library Assistant, Karen Gallant, to June 30, 2019; Library Assistant, Lou Ann Bankowski, to June 30, 2019; Fire Department/Probationary firefighter, Gabriel Taylor, to December 31, 2018. Committee appointment — Phillipston Memorial Elementary School Building Committee, Ann-Marie Geyster, to June 30, 2021.

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