CHICOPEE — On May 22, Chicopee and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation hosted a public information session to show their proposed design improvements at Montgomery Street, Granby Road and McKinstry Avenue.

The purpose of the project is to improve safety, traffic operations and accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists.
This project was first initiated in 2017 through a feasibility study of the area and was approved for federal and state funding in 2018.

A 2019 Road Safety Audit was completed and highlighted three crash sites within the area.

The high crash locations ranked number five in top 100 locations in the Pioneer Valley and 174 crashes were reported in those three areas from 2014 to 2016.

The existing intersections showed a high number of angle, rear-end and side swipe crashes due to confusing geometry, skewed angles and pavement markings.

There is also a lack of sidewalk, missing or non-compliant wheelchair ramps and no bicycle accommodations.
Project improvements include the addition of three roundabouts, pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, handicap-accessible sidewalks, curb ramps, managing conflict points and general roadway and safety improvements.

The roundabouts will be located from Granby Road at McKinstry Avenue, Granby Road at Montgomery Street and Montgomery Street at Interstate 90.

The existing traffic signal will be replaced with a peanut-shaped roundabout, a second roundabout will be constructed for access to McKinstry Avenue and a third roundabout will be added at the intersection of Montgomery Street with the I-90 ramps.

A raised median will be added down the center of Montgomery Street between the proposed roundabouts to eliminate the existing hazardous left turns into and out of the shopping center plaza.

The addition of the shared-use paths will separate pedestrian and bicycle traffic from vehicle traffic.

Based on the project overview, the proposed timeline shows that 2024 progress will continue with design development as 75% of the design is completed with 100% on-going. There will also be Right of Way Coordination.

Based on the timeline, the project would not be advertised until fall 2025 and the construction isn’t anticipated to start until 2026.

Current project impacts include a full residential taking of 985 McKinstry Ave and 18 permanent easements, 38 temporary easements and 25 fee takings.

The PVTA bus route may have delays during construction and students’ routes to Chicopee Comprehensive High School and Lamber-Lavoie Elementary School during this time.

MassDOT said that impacts will be minimized and mitigated through a construction management plan detours are not anticipated but will be communicated in advance of construction if needed.

Residents at the event were able to submit suggestions or concerns with the design and may folks expressed they were cautiously optimistic with the plan so far.