Public input sought on roadway; will affect Hull residents using it
Plans for major improvements to the well-traveled Route 3A corridor that stretches along Hingham’s waterfront focus on improving the safety of pedestrians, motorists, and bicyclists and include a shared-use path with a buffer along the waterfront and a permanent “road diet” from Martins Lane to the Hingham Rotary.
The planned modifications are also geared toward enhancing recreational, educational, and commercial opportunities in that area. The project will affect Hull residents who travel through – or stop to enjoy – the area.
The overhaul includes safety and related improvements along Route 3A, Summer Street, and Rockland Street from the intersection of Otis Street and Broad Cove Road south near the Hingham Lobster Pound and east to the intersection of George Washington Boulevard and Rockland Street, including the Hingham Rotary.
The plans also envision improved signage, lane and yield markings, curbing, traffic islands, design changes at the Water Street/North Street/Route 3A intersection (including dedicated turn lanes), traffic-calming measures, and much-improved pedestrian and bicyclist access along the corridor.
A Massachusetts Department of Transportation virtual public hearing about the project, now at the 25 percent design stage, is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m. MassDOT is overseeing the project. (Details will be posted on the town of Hingham website.)
The purpose of the hearing is for MassDOT and Hingham to provide the public with the opportunity to become fully acquainted with the proposal.
“What’s so remarkable about the project is the cooperation among the Hingham, Hull, and Cohasset public safety officials throughout the [decade-long] process,” Judy Sneath, chair of the Hingham Rte. 3A Task Force, told The Hull Times. “The fire and police departments in all three towns have worked hard together to ensure that the project meets the primary goal, which is public safety. …
“We’d like to be sure residents [of all three towns] know about the project goals and how they can weigh in,” Sneath said. “We’d like as many people as possible who are interested to participate and to share [their thoughts] as well as any concerns.”
She noted that the numerous public meetings over the years leading up to next month’s hearing have been shaped by public input.
Pressley Associates’ landscaping plan will also be shared; it includes about 50 trees providing shade throughout the corridor when the temperatures rise; grassy areas where there is now concrete; and shrubbery and other plantings that are not only environmentally friendly but also make the area more aesthetically pleasing.
“The landscaping will be closely coordinated with the work that has already been done at the Bathing Beach and will complement the new brick walkway and dune plantings,” Sneath said. “This project provides a regional benefit because people come from all over [the South Shore and beyond] to enjoy the waterfront – a gem that is a real public asset.” The overall plan also calls for new sidewalks; updated traffic signals with flashing beacons, indicating that someone is trying to cross the street; fog lines; and a 10-foot shared-use path with a buffer along the waterfront – all part of the effort to make the harborfront safer and more user-friendly for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists from Hull, Hingham, Cohasset, and other communities.
Hingham’s share of the project will be about $819,000 for engineering and construction design costs. State and federal funds will be used to pay the actual construction cost, estimated at $15.3 million by MassDOT.
The project is currently on the state’s 2025 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) schedule, “though our engineers are confident that the design documents will be shovel-ready by the 2024 TIP, should the opportunity arise,” Sneath said.
A temporary pilot program in 2018 was a cooperative effort among Hull, Hingham, and Cohasset town officials due to speeding issues and the high volume of accidents that posed serious safety concerns in that area.
Under this “road diet,” one traffic lane was eliminated in both directions from the rotary along Summer Street to Rockland Street at George Washington Boulevard and was considered by town officials to be successful in moderating traffic flow.
This “road diet” is included in the current design, except that the change will include only that portion of the roadway from Martins Lane to the rotary, which is less than a half-mile.
Sneath explained that the results of this pilot program showed that the impacts of such a change to surrounding areas related to potential cut-through traffic were felt to be negligible and that there would be less than a one-minute delay for motorists traveling through the reduced-lane area.
“We will not be rehearing comments about the road diet during this meeting,” she said. “It’s a firm part of the project and is happening to improve public safety” along this dangerous stretch.
Project inquiries, written statements, and other exhibits regarding the proposed undertaking can be submitted to Carrie E. Lavallee, P.E., Acting Chief Engineer, via e-mail to MassDOTProjectManagement@dot.state.ma.us
or via U.S. mail to Suite 6340, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, Attention: Project Management, Project File No. 605168.
Statements and exhibits intended for inclusion in the public hearing transcript must be emailed or postmarked no later than 10 business days after the hearing is posted to the MassDOT website listed below.
A recording of the meeting will be posted on the above website for those who are unable to participate on Jan. 11.