SALEM — Selectmen have reiterated their approval of a Depot intersection traffic improvement plan that provides a six-foot, painted median between the north and south bound lanes of Route 28 near the Main Street intersection.
Selectmen originally approved the design option of the intersection last year, but were asked to reconfirm their desire to move forward with that plan due to some minor modifications of the plan.
The proposal includes the widening of Route 28 on the west side of the road, and could include the taking of some property by right-of-way on that side.
According to town director of engineering Bob Puff, the median option would mean the town takes about a foot more of land by right of way as opposed to an alternative that would include a sidewalk but no median.
“In my opinion, this is a more appropriate engineering approach to control the traffic and to protect the opposite directional flow,” said Puff.
The approved option includes no new sidewalks, but that doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be sidewalks as the properties at the intersection are potentially developed in the future, said Selectman Everett McBride.
“The planning board will deal with what goes there next and that might include a sidewalk, or it might not include a sidewalk,” said McBride. “My position is that I do not want a sidewalk to nowhere, which is what would go there.”
The project will be funded primarily through state and federal funds and could be on the state list for funding as soon as 2016, according to Puff.
The town has been looking at traffic improvements and potential develop of the Depot intersection area since at least the early 1990s.