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‘Mistake’ islands add $271K to Routes 5 and 10 project in South Deerfield

  • The islands installed by MassDOT on Routes 5 and 10 in South Deerfield by the Fire Station, Elm Street intersection and Yankee Candle have been removed. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The islands installed by MassDOT on Routes 5 and 10 in South Deerfield by the fire station, Elm Street intersection and Yankee Candle have been removed. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The islands installed by the state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) on Routes 5 and 10 in South Deerfield by the Fire Station, Elm Street intersection and Yankee Candle have been removed. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ



Staff Writer
Monday, November 22, 2021

SOUTH DEERFIELD — The removal of newly installed traffic islands on Greenfield Road (Routes 5 and 10) added more than $110,000 to the total cost of the reconstruction project on the road, according to state Department of Transportation documents.

The total cost of the islands comes out to $271,050, which breaks down into $158,214 for the installation and an additional $112,837 for the removal. These costs are for material and excavation expenses only.

MassDOT installed the islands at the end of August but had to remove them soon after because their location in the center of the road would have stalled first responders’ efforts in the event of an emergency because a backlog of traffic would be unable to have enough room to pull over for an ambulance or firetruck.

Messages left with MassDOT’s press office were not returned.

Deerfield Highway Superintendent Kevin Scarborough said in October the biggest issue was at the intersection of Elm Street and Greenfield Road, which would have forced fire engines to waste valuable time driving through the downtown area instead of on Routes 5 and 10.

“If there was an accident there at the intersection, which there often is,” Scarborough said in a October phone call, “if the Fire Department is leaving and there is a backup, they’re not getting through.”

Deerfield Select Board member Carolyn Shores Ness said the islands were a misstep by whoever designed and approved them. She added she was unsure of the completion date and if the removal of the islands added more time to the project.

“It was a pretty big mistake on somebody’s part,” Shores Ness said by phone. “I’m hoping they’re going to finish before the paving plants close for the season. It has to be ready for snow removal.”

The islands were installed as part of the ongoing reconstruction of Routes 5 and 10. The project has involved resurfacing the road, adding sidewalks and crosswalks, and installing pedestrian signals from the South Deerfield Fire District to the intersection of Routes 5, 10 and 116. Paving is continuing this week, with the exception of Thursday.