Road 13 work in North Leominster expected to be complete by October

LEOMINSTER — The reconstruction of a busy section of Route 13 in North Leominster, underway for more than a decade, is nearing completion, according to a local official.

Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella said in his daily Facebook video update on Thursday that construction crews had done paving work the night before and had yet to define final locations for curbs and utility poles around Main Street (Route 13) between Haws Street and Prospect Street.

Besides the paving, one of the most visible aspects of the project are the new traffic lights on Route 13 and Mead Street (westbound ramps from Route 2 at Exit 100), which were activated this week.

“They’re getting closer,” Mazzarella said last week. “They’ll probably wrap it up by the end of September or October, if all goes well.”

Other improvements to Main Street (Highway 13) between Haws Street and Prospect Street include:

• Widening of Haws Street from Route 13 to the intersection of the eastbound ramp from Route 2 and Commercial Road to two lanes in each direction.

• Added turn lanes from southbound Route 13 to Mead Street, southbound Route 13 to Prospect Street, and three (instead of two) turn lanes on Nashua Street.

• Improvements to existing traffic signals on Route 13 at Haws Street, Nashua and Hamilton Streets and Prospect Street.

• Optimization and coordination of all traffic lights on Haws Street, Mead Street, River Street, Hamilton and Nashua Street, Prospect Street and in front of the fire station on Hamilton Street.

Vehicles head north on Route 13 in Leominster, through the area where road and traffic light improvements are underway, Thursday, September 1.

Parts of Route 13 have been widened — and utility poles and wires moved — to allow for 2-foot-wide shoulders and 5-foot-wide sidewalks that meet accessibility guidelines. Cyclists can use the new shoulders on Main Street, Haws Street and Nashua Street, and they will have dedicated lanes on Hamilton Street and River Street.

Some jobs last year took longer than expected due to supply issues, Mazzarella said.

The main reasons for rebuilding this part of Route 13 are safety and traffic flow. Traffic jams reign during morning and afternoon commutes, affecting traffic as far north as Day Street, about half a mile. Some of the extra traffic comes from new homes in nearby towns because, Mazzarella said, “we haven’t done any new development” in North Leominster for over 10 years due to a lack of space.

Additionally, the area has seen its fair share of accidents over the years. Between 2012 and 2014, there were 28 motor vehicle accidents at the intersection of Route 13 and Haws Street, 44 at Mead Street, 31 at River Street, 63 at Hamilton and Nashua streets, and 19 at Prospect Street.

The intersection of Route 13, Nashua Street, and Hamilton Street is the highest in the North County area and one of the 200 highest in Massachusetts, in terms of accident count.

While talk of redesigning this section of Main Street dates back decades, the State Department of Transportation’s Highway Division has been working on the project since 2009. Plans for the project spanned six years, from 2012 to 2018. It made a bid in the summer of 2020, with AF Amorello & Sons Inc. submitting the lowest bid of $4,831,129.50.

Mazzarella said he was “happy” that Amorello kept Highway 13 open as much as possible during construction.

State and federal funds paid for the project, with the city of Leominster ensuring that permission was obtained from adjoining landowners to complete the work.

When the project is complete, the mayor said, “it will move many more cars in a safer way. Safety is the first goal, then moving cars faster. »

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