New Bedford County Street Makeover Long Overdue [OPINION]
The County Street Corridor Improvement Project, a rehab of much of New Bedford's County Street, is scheduled to begin in June 2023. The $10.3 million renovation project was announced last week by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). To be clear, this is going to be painful for those who regularly travel County Street, but it will be well worth it in the long run.
MassDOT said the improvement project will focus on County Street between Union Street and Cove Street. Eighty percent of the work will be covered by a federal grant with the state picking up the remaining 20 percent.
According to MassDOT, "The proposed project consists of roadway, traffic signal, intersection, sidewalk, ADA, crosswalk, pavement marking, bus stop, street lighting, landscape and other related safety and mobility improvements along County Street from just north of Cove Street northerly to Union Street for a distance of 1.3 miles. Bicycle accommodations will consist of a 5 feet wide bike lane on the northbound or east side of County Street from Hawthorn Street to Union Street and shared lanes on the remaining portions of County Street."
The rehabilitation of County Street is long overdue. The only thing more in need of a rehab than County Street south of Union Street is County Street north of Union Street. Let's hope plans are in the works for that project. It's too bad that the two could not be combined in one effort, and we could just get it all done at once.
Unfortunately, MassDOT cannot widen County Street. That would require a lot of land taking and demolition. There will be some trees removed to accommodate new sidewalks. It's going to be a long and inconvenient process. MassDOT cannot make this happen with a snap of the fingers. This is going to take time and it will require patience, something for which many in New Bedford are not often known.
New Bedford residents have an opportunity to review MassDOT's plan and comment on it. You can do so by visiting the MassDOT page or by emailing MassDOTProjectManagement@dot.state.ma.us.
This is your opportunity to be heard. Speak now or forever hold your peace.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.