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Selectmen Review Updated “Alternate Route” Plan

This diagram shows the original, complete "alternate route" that would run from Central St. through to where Veterans Memorial Drive currently ends at Aries Way.

The town's Industrial Development Commission (IDC) unveiled a shortened "alternate route" project, designed to reduce downtown traffic congestion by diverting 5,000 cars a day off Main St., to the Board of Selectmen on August 22. The plan calls for traffic to move from Depot St. through Front St. and out to Beach St., where it would rejoin Main St. at East Main St.

Previous "alternate route" plans had the town buying several land parcels from Mount Pleasant St. to Central St. with the town then building a new road running from Central St. – at its intersection with Depot St. – along the old Penn Central railroad right-of-way and connecting to the existing Veterans Memorial Drive out to Medway Road (Route 109).

"We are all very concerned about what we can do to alleviate the traffic on Main St.," said Barry Feingold, president and CEO of the Milford Area Chamber of Commerce, and an IDC member. "This is an excellent way to alleviate the traffic rather quickly." He called shifting 5,000 cars a day off Main St. "a huge figure" that "would go a long way toward improving the quality of life in terms of getting from one end [of town] to another."

Traffic studies show that 60 percent of Main St. traffic is just "through traffic," that is driving through Milford without stopping there, Feingold added. "Any reduction would make it a lot easier" for traffic to move through downtown, said IDC member Joseph Boczanowski, facilities director for Milford Regional Medical Center.

Town Planner Larry Dunkin wanted the board to place an article on the warrant for the Special Town Meeting in October to fund an updated appraisal of properties along the revised quarter-mile route that would need to be acquired or taken by eminent domain. The state Department of Transportation suggested using money in the state's transportation bond bill to pay for the land acquisition and road construction, Feingold added.

Selectmen Chairman Dino DeBartolomeis said the bond bill's language covers acquisition only, not construction. The town will have to check with state Representative John Fernandes, D. Milford, to see if language could be added to pay for construction, he said. "It's reasonable. It's proactive. There are no homes in that area. It might be something that would work," DeBartolomeis said.

"The tipping point is that $2 million transportation bond bill," said Selectman Brain Murray. "To me it starts and ends there." He said the town needs to find out more about the bill's status before moving ahead with any appraisals. "This particular portion would be great," he said. Murray also noted that motorists have made their own alternate routes by driving around the downtown on back roads that are not designed to handle large amounts of traffic.

Selectmen William Buckley said the proposed route would not be a good idea if it simply moved the 5,000 cars to the intersection of South Main St. and Depot St. without first making sure that intersection could handle that kind of traffic volume. "I'm an advocate of doing something. I just don't want to move the problem," he said.

The new "alternate route" proposed by the Industrial Development Commission would run approximately 1,150 feet, from Front St. to the northern 450 feet of Beach St., marked with the heavy black line. Traffic would flow on the existing Central, Depot and Beach Streets before returning to Main St., Rt. 16 in front of Sacred Heart Church, see thinner line. (Map from Google Maps). 


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