State to brief Richmond officials on safety audit of Route 41-Dublin Road crossing

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RICHMOND — State Department of Transportation officials will present to town officials Monday data for the partially completed road safety audit at a dangerous Route 41 (State Road) intersection, followed by recommendations for long-term improvements.At Wednesday's Select Board meeting, Town Administrator Danielle Fillio reported that she has been working with Massachusetts Department of Transportation District 1 Highway Director Francisca Heming on immediate safety enhancements at the state highway intersection with Dublin Road, where two people died in separate collisions in July and August.

Guardrails have been installed along Route 41 approaching the intersection from the south to protect vehicles from an embankment, and trees have been removed to enhance visibility in the same area, Fillio said. New signage warns motorists to slow to 30 mph as they approach the crossing from the south.

Heming has signaled a possible removal of the embankment if recommended by the safety study.

Other precautionary measures implemented by MassDOT within a few days after the second fatal collision, Aug.14, included:

- Additional advisory speed signs of 30 mph on Route 41;

- Advance warning stop signs on Dublin Road;

- Replacement of the Dublin Road intersection warning sign on Route 41 with a nameplate identifying the road;

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- Additional removal of vegetation and trees to increase sight visibility on Dublin Road approaching the intersection.

The road safety audit to be unveiled Monday was prepared by an independent multidisciplinary group of experts who compiled a report targeting roadway safety issues as well as opportunities for safety improvements, according to a MassDOT statement.

The Select Board had asked MassDOT to expedite its road safety study after the Aug. 14 two-car collision that killed Barbara Detlefsen, 72, of Slippery Rock, Pa. On July 24, Roland Small, 84, of Richmond, a retired bassoonist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, died in a two-car crash at the same site. It was the fourth serious collision this year.

Select Board Chairman Roger Manzolini praised the rapid response of the state agency to the request for the safety audit, and suggested a letter of appreciation for the work done so by the MassDOT District 1 officials and staff members.

At a special public meeting at Town Hall on Aug. 20, state police Trooper Jim Somerville, who responded to the first fatal crash, said that the visibility problems at the intersection cause drivers to be unsure of themselves when entering the intersection.

"I think people do one of two things," Somerville said at the time. "People floor through the intersection and hope for the best or they crawl through the intersection. We're finding people are being indecisive."

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com, on Twitter @BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.


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