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Groton Commuters to Face Dealys

Beginning in mid-May, if all goes according to plan, Groton commuters who travel Rte. 119 to Rte. 495 on their way to and from work or shopping will experience road construction and potential delays as they approach this major intersection in Littleton. This is a result of both traffic safety improvements coupled with a major new development planned for the vacant land that abuts both thoroughfares.

At the end of the road project, three new traffic lights will be installed to control traffic flow in the area. One light will be located at the intersection of Constitution Dr., Russell St. and Rte. 119, the main entrance to the new development. There will also be traffic lights at both southbound and northbound ramps coming off Rte. 495 onto Rte. 119. So there is the potential for those traveling from Groton to Littleton Center to encounter four traffic lights within a relatively short distance - three new ones and the existing light in Littleton Center.

This change, although it may slow traffic, should be welcome news especially to those who exit from Rte. 495 south to head toward Groton, making a left turn onto Rte. 119 at an intersection that has had its share of accidents. It will also make turning easier for those exiting from Rte. 495 north to make a left turn onto Rte. 119 to get to Littleton Center.

These traffic improvements are a result of a public/private partnership according to Littleton Planning Administrator/Permit Coordinator Maren Toohill. There are essentially four entities involved in the project: MassWork Infrastructure Program that provided the grant for the project; Mass. Dept. of Transportation, handling design details; Littleton that will implement the grant and oversee the project; and developer Sam Park & Co. who will provide design, engineering and part of the construction funds.

Although the design is 25 percent complete, Planning Administrator Toohill said Littleton plans to put the project out to bid, especially as there is a time constraint from the funding source, MassWorks. Construction must start by mid-May, and there is still planning work to be completed. Reportedly, Littleton was awarded a $1.8M grant for the project.

There are actually two projects underway simultaneously - traffic improvements, and beginning construction on a 90-acre site by Sam Park & Co. in partnership with Morris & Morse Co. which acquired the vacant parcel at this intersection in August 2011. The land was formerly owned by networking company Cisco, which reportedly sold it for $6M.

Park's development will ultimately encompass 520,000 square feet of mixed use commercial and retail space and may potentially include a theater, hotel, and restaurant. Site work on the parcel is underway now, with equipment clearing the land.

Planning Administrator Toohill said that she expect Plans, Specifications, and Estimate (PS&E) documents soon that will spell out the traffic management plans and schedule for the work.

Groton Herald

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