Articles Posted in Road Defects in Massachusetts

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Officials are looking for a way to make Interstate 93 a little bit safer. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) recently made a proposal to keep hazardous materials off of Boston’s waterfront and North End routes to I-93, according to The Boston Globe. Commercial vehicles with dangerous cargo can easily cause fatal accidents if not properly regulated, like in the Somerville car accident we recently told you about on our Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog.
Our Boston injury attorneys understand that this proposal makes sense as it could potentially help to prevent fatal accidents on the interstate, but does it make sense to reroute these hazardous trucks through our neighborhoods? Everyone knows that both Routes 93 and 128 frequently experience heavy congestion. With more and more trucks on our roadways, the dangers are increasing. It’s not uncommon for motorists to hop off the interstate to continue their journey through nearby neighborhoods, but what happens when trucks are taking these alternative routes?

State Senator Katherine Clark is working to find a solution for this matter. She’s working with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to help relieve the stress of overcrowded highways while maintaining neighborhood roadways. She’s looking to help reroute traffic through areas that are able to handle the traffic and the potential dangers that may come along with it.

Transportation department officials already have taken notice to the congestion problems at the Routes 128 and 93 interchanges. As a matter of fact, through recent investigation, that area was named as the most dangerous area for trucking accidents in Massachusetts, as hundreds of trucks navigate through these roadways carrying dangerous materials.

The Battelle Memorial Institute recently conducted a study and concluded that Cambridge and Boston are the only two cities in the area that have dedicated Hazardous Materials Teams. Many communities are dependent on the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services Regional Hazardous Materials Teams. The problem with this is that while the Boston team is able to respond to a call with 15 minutes on average, a regional team takes much longer. Smaller, residential fire units are not properly staffed to guarantee an efficient response time to a roadway disaster. Boston and Cambridge on the other hand have sufficient staff. That’s why traffic has been proposed to be rerouted through areas that are better equipped to take on the heavy traffic and to handle the potential dangers from certain trucks.

The state senator has been working alongside legislators in a number of communities in an attempt to sway transportation department officials to adopt a new route that can help relieve overburdened highways and maintain all safety standards.

Our Boston roadways can be extremely dangerous at times. Officials have enacted a number of road laws to help reduce the risks we often face while traveling along our congested interstates and highways. While some conditions may seem completely unavoidable, officials will continue to search for ways to eliminate these dangers, even if it means completely rerouting traffic.
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The state has no plans to study a Watertown intersection, despite the concerns of neighbors who contend the intersection by the Charles River is poorly designed and increases the risk of car accidents.

Massachusetts Injury Lawyer Jeffrey S. Glassman and the staff at our law offices assist motorists in recovering damages as a result of serious or fatal traffic accidents throughout Massachusetts. Sometimes, a thorough investigation determines that authorities knew, or should have known, about a dangerous intersection or Massachusetts road defect and did nothing to prevent motorists from being seriously injured or killed. Poor design, missing or inoperable street lights or traffic control devices, overgrown vegetation, deteriorating roads, missing or poorly maintained guardrails and other dangers can increase the risk that a motorist will be involved in an accident.

In this case, the Boston Globe reports that neighbors are baffled about why nothing has ever been done to improve safety at the intersection of Grove Street and Greenough Boulevard.

One neighbor said numerous accidents occur at the intersection, which is equipped with one stop sign (often kicked sideways from being hit) and a concrete divider than has been reduced to ruble. An orange cone of no known significance sits atop the pile of ruble and has for some time.

One neighbor said the intersection is difficult to navigate, even for those familiar with it. She said some motorists go out of their way to avoid it altogether. She said many people would like to see a traffic light, or at least a blinking light and signs warning motorists of the upcoming intersection.

“Those of us who see these frequently-occurring accidents would like to know exactly why nothing has been done all these years,” said Gwen Romagnoli. “Certainly some traffic authorities somewhere, in some agency or other, are aware of the huge number of accidents that occur there.”

A Globe reporter found a “free-for-all” at the intersection, with cars “playing chicken” across three lanes of high-speed traffic. The intersection also includes a hairpin turn at the base of a hill and two median strips worn down to nubs.

A Watertown councilor said leaders have spent nearly a decade asking state officials to do something about the problem. More than 25 accidents have been reported there in the last several years.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation said there are currently no plans to improve the intersection. A spokeswoman said the agency is aware of the concerns but had no capital funding for repairs. There is also no plan to ask for funding for a study because the cost of the study would depend on the scope of the study, which has also not been determined.

This is a classic example of bureaucracy leading to the risk of a motorist being involved in a serious or fatal accident. Next thing you know, the state will be complaining about the high cost of personal injury lawsuits and will find a politician somewhere in the bowels of the statehouse willing to propose a new law that limits a motorist’s right to collect damages. Never mind that the fault lies with a government entity that is funded by taxpayers but fails to protect them from injury by providing the most basic of services.
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