New Traffic Lights on Washington Still Waiting for the ‘Green Light’

June 21, 2018
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Two new traffic-lights on Washington Street have been installed for several months, but have been dormant for quite some time without many answers.

The lights are a conglomeration of City, state and electric company efforts that have become bogged down in permitting by Eversource electric company.

Patrick Marvin, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation (MassDOT), said Eversource hopes to get its permits to wire and turn on the lights in the coming weeks. He could not give a specific date though.

“MassDOT is continuing to coordinate with Eversource regarding the completion of their work activities,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Eversource is currently seeking the necessary permits and approvals and finalizing plans, and expects to complete their work within the coming weeks.”

The new traffic signals being installed on Washington Street at Waltham and West Concord streets are part of a nine-location MassDOT citywide project. They were recommended at these two intersections to improve pedestrian safety, and because they are close to public schools. Other locations throughout the city include East Boston, Mattapan and Roxbury.

The two locations on Washington Street will include communication equipment that will allow them to be controlled from the BTD Central Traffic Computer System so BTD can provide remote monitoring and real-time traffic adjustments in order to manage traffic. The work is substantially complete, and presently waiting for Eversource to provide electric power.

The signals are funded by federal transportation dollars.

Several community groups have been inquiring about the status of the lights, as they have been installed, but not working, for many months.

On Tuesday, at the East Berkeley Neighborhood Association (EBNA), President Ken Smith said he would like to know more concrete dates about when they will be turned on.

He said he hasn’t had any good information, and the light at Waltham was the result of many years of advocacy by EBNA.

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