MassDOT Tabs Rte. 9 And 495 to Westborough For Improvement

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MassDOT's Secretary and CEO Richard Davey spoke to town officials in Westborough on Wednesday about a proposed improvement of the Route 9 and Interstate 495 interchange.
MassDOT's Secretary and CEO Richard Davey spoke to town officials in Westborough on Wednesday about a proposed improvement of the Route 9 and Interstate 495 interchange. Photo Credit: Jeff Nowak

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. - A new capital investment proposal would see $13 billion targeting the transportation system - $12 million of which is earmarked for the Route 9 and Interstate 495 interchange in Westborough and Southborough, said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey. 

The plan would widen Route 9, as well as give commuters an extra lane going from Research Drive in Westborough to Crystal Pond Road in Southborough.

"The only thing that was a question mark was funding, and the plan we've proposed has funded this project," said Davey at a meeting of local officials in Westborough on Wednesday. A meeting was also held in Southborough at the beginning of January to discuss these proposals.

"People want more of us; they want more of our product. The challenge for us is delivering that service." 

Davey added that part of the $12 million will include road upgrades. 

"The project will give our customers - you and your employees - the ability to walk and bicycle safely with intended biking and pedestrian improvements, which are so important to our efficient transportation in the Commonwealth," Davey said.

The 21st Century Transportation Plan put forth by Governor Deval Patrick is intended to be a 10-year investment program that includes $13 billion in capital investment, according to a news release. 

Of the total investment, $9 billion is earmarked to maintain the transportation system, while the remaining $4 billion would cover "targeted investment across the Commonwealth to unlock economic development." 

The plan also includes $100 million per year for local roads and bridges, according to the release. 

"The resources we have today are simply not enough to maintain the system we have and to make targeted economic development investments, like the one with 495 and Route 9," Davey said. 

"That's the kind of investment we can make with the governor's plan."

The goal is to have the project done by 2014. But if the plan is not approved, the completion date would likely be 2017. 

"To be clear, the plan that we've put forward doesn't fund every project that every person has asked of us in transportation," said Davey, adding that MassDOT has prioritized feasible projects by safety and economic development standards.

"[The plan] is ultimately about catalyzing more job growth and economic opportunity," he said.

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It's always about expanding roads which means more gas and more pollution! How about some serious attention to public transport? The Westborough rail station should be accessible for bike riders and Westborough should be a part of the MetroWest Regional Transit route which could extend from Southborough or the Solomon Pond Mall to Westborough. It currently services Hopkinton and Milford but not Westborough: http://www.mwrta.com/images/System-map.pdf

The pollution in Westborough is reaching unprecedented proportions and there is nothing that aids commuters or travelers in terms of public transit except the rail station. It's not nearly enough. The rail station is one of the assets I believe adds to the value of Westborough properties and being part of the MetroWest Regional Transit route would be a huge improvement.