Town seeks state cash for Hathaway/State Road intersection project

Dec 19, 2017

The latest development concerning the Hathaway/State Road intersection improvement project is that the town wants to partner with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to combat the traffic nightmare – a possible step towards Dartmouth receiving financial help from the state for the pricey project.

The news was shared at the December 18 Select Board meeting by Town Administrator David Cressman, who stressed "There has to be a partnership with MassDOT to address all the costs...and the town needs to be reimbursed."

An adamant Cressman continued, "This is not a local issue. It’s a regional issue...and MassDOT recognizes a regional benefit to improving the town's transportation."

Diction is crucial here, since "local" would typically mean the town is on the hook for the intersection price tag, whereas "regional" could open the door to monetary assistance from the Commonwealth.

Cressman exasperatedly described the frustrating scene Dartmouth drivers know all too well - a string of backed-up vehicles inching their way to the intersection, only to get stuck in the middle of the intersection. The result is a never-ending traffic debacle with huge safety and economic implications.

“We see it every day, we live it,” Select Board member Stanley Mickelson agreed.

The project would involve relocating the Tucker Road/Route 6 intersection in an easterly direction, aligning it with Hathaway Road. The resulting four-way intersection would then become fully signalized.

The new road is slated to run through the North Dartmouth Library. A project to build a replacement library on Cross Road has been developed, and residents approved a bulk of project funding at recent Town Meetings.

Cressman said the Metro Pizza building, located at 239 State Road, may also need to be acquired by the town to complete the road project.

The project is on MassDOT's radar, and funding is on its Transportation Improvement Program budget, but not on its near-future budget, Cressman said.

There is still a lengthy road to go for the intersection improvement project - no matter who is paying for it - as construction isn't expected to start for at least a couple years with a 2021 timeframe, but Cressman said continued discussion with MassDOT may move it forward sooner.