Contractor begins safety upgrades to dodgy Marblehead intersection

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One of Marblehead’s most baffling and precious intersections – where Cross, Pleasant, Vine and Village streets converge – is getting what many have characterized as long overdue safety upgrades – with a contractor having kicked off work on Monday.

For years, residents and drivers have vocalized a serious need for safety enhancements at the five-way intersection. Perhaps its biggest issue: The directionless, irregular way in which drivers and pedestrians navigate and approach it.

For years, residents and drivers have vocalized a serious need for safety enhancements at the five-way intersection.

“It’s absolutely about pedestrians and making that a safe intersection,” Amy McHugh, the director of Marblehead Department of Public Works, told the Marblehead News on Tuesday evening. “You have crosswalks that are crossing three streets at once. To get from Village Street and across Pleasant Street, you’re actually crossing four lanes of traffic.”

She added, “And you also have big, heavy turning from Village to Vine.”

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Highway Division has contracted Aqua Line Utility, Inc. to improve the intersection. The town secured money from the Transportation Improvement Program.

The intersection’s upgrades are as follows:

  • Realignment of Vine Street to form a T intersection
  • Shared bicycle accommodations
  • Narrowing and realigning Pleasant Street to minimize crossing distance
  • The installation of new sidewalks and signs
  • Enhanced lighting
  • Modest drainage modifications
  • Americans with Disabilities Act crossing enhancements

“This work will require road closures, and one way traffic at certain times throughout the project,” a Tuesday announcement from the town reads. “It is recommended that residents find alternative legal parking elsewhere during the project. Subsequent notices will be provided regarding traffic and project updates.”

McHugh said area businesses will remain open during construction. Moreover, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus that runs through Marblehead will operate without interruption.

“The contractor is only going to work Monday through Thursday,” said McHugh. “So as to help alleviate traffic and businesses on the weekends.”

Tentative work schedule:

  • June 27 -28: Work will consist of preparation for the project
  • June 29 – July 8: No work scheduled the week of the Fourth of July. Contractor will not be on site
    All roads will remain open during this time period.
  • July 11 – 15: Temporary bypass piping for water main will be installed
Marblehead News staff
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