Reminder Assistant Editor
WILBRAHAM Both State Rep. Angelo Puppolo and Postmaster Orlando Braz believe that the Boston Road Traffic Light Project is something that needs to be accomplished soon.
"We need a traffic light as soon as possible," Braz said in an interview with Reminder Publications. "The post office alone gets several hundred visitors a day. [The traffic flow] is not a good situation. I'm concerned with the safety of the intersection."
The intersection being discussed is between Post Office Park and Boston Road in Wilbraham. According to Puppolo, the project to make the intersection safer has been in the works for years. "Representative Gale Candaras began work on this in her term, along with Senator Brian Lees, who put in a tremendous amount of work," Puppolo said. "They're the ones who put the package together and submitted it to the state."
The package Puppolo spoke of includes intersection reconstruction, traffic lights, sidewalk work and squaring off the intersection by Spec Pond. The pond package was the original plan, but Puppolo and Candaras spoke with Gov. Deval Patrick to have money set aside for the additional traffic improvements.
Puppolo also brought up the subject to Lt. Gov. Tim Murray during his recent visit to Wilbraham. "Murray said he's working to keep this project moving forward," Puppolo said.
Requests for proposals on the price of the project were sent out during the end of August. The lowest price submitted so far is from Baltazar Contractors in Ludlow, at $893,867.
The estimated cost of the project on the Massachusetts Highway Department's Web site is listed as $1,097,042 (http://www.mhd.state.-ma.us).
"The money for the project is there, that's the key," Puppolo stated. "All that needs to be done now is the follow up." The follow up includes making sure the submitted bid is complete and all paperwork is properly turned in to Mass. Highway, which can take up to 70 days.
"I know firsthand how difficult that intersection can be and it is definitely a public safety issue," Puppolo added. "This is a good project for Wilbraham. It will enhance the area and make it safer."
Braz concurred. "A lot of people will be relieved when this project is done," he said. "We need a traffic light as soon as possible. I'm concerned for the safety of customers and employees. State help on this project needs to be a priority."
The worst time for traffic in the intersection is between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m., according to Braz. "Late afternoon is the worst," he said. "Post office visitors and employees are leaving, plus there's rush hour traffic on an already busy road."
Puppolo wants to get the work started as soon as possible, including hopefully having the traffic light installed before winter. "[The traffic light] would be a significant benefit to the town, making use of the complex as easy as possible," Puppolo explained.
"I agree with Puppolo," Braz said. "It would be fantastic if something were finished before winter started."
If the traffic light is not installed before the first snow falls, Puppolo is positive that some preliminary work will be completed before winter begins.