One of the worst roads for traffic in Bedford may soon see some relief as state and town officials work on a proposal to widen two miles of Route 101, from Route 114 to Wallace Road. Bedford Town Manager Jessie Levine met with representatives from the state Department of Transportation on Tuesday, March 5.
Levine said the plan right now is to widen Route 101 by at least two lanes, with a possibility of widening by three lanes, allowing a divided median with turning lanes. Levine further said that work could begin by 2015 or 2016. Much depends on funding which is currently earmarked for the project. But the start date also depends on on other factors such as moving utilities and lamp posts, securing rights of way and negotiating with abutters.
Another factor is the extension of sewers from Nashua Road to Wallace Road, and that work needs to be done before road widening can begin. “We want to coordinate that so we install the sewers before highway work begins” said Levine.
Levine also said the town of Bedford will also push for aesthetic improvements to the road including sidewalks and landscape work, trying to increase capacity and improve traffic safety issues while improving the look and feel of the town’s center.
A public informational meeting is set for Wednesday, March 20, at 7 p.m., in the town meeting room at the BCTV studios, 10 Meetinghouse Road. The Department of Transportation is seeking input from the public about where they feel are the main trouble spots that should be addressed in the widening project. They are also seeking input from abutters.
Route 101 is a state highway and was placed on the Department of Transportation’s 10-year plan for improvements in 2005. But because of budget shortfalls, the widening of Route 101 was removed from the list. Since then, local business and community leaders fought successfully to make the project a priority again.
“Route 101 is such an important business corridor” said Levine.
Traffic from Wallace Road and Route 114 is often heavy, impacting residents, businesses and commuters passing through.