Following complaints from Rochester residents about the dangers of the Walnut Plain Road and Mary’s Pond Road intersection, Rep. Bill Straus announced today that the town had been awarded a $50,000 grant to fund traffic safety improvements, including at that particular intersection.

The Town of Rochester had applied for the grant, through the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Shared Streets and Spaces Program, and town officials had sought the assistance of Rep. Straus in securing the grant. Straus, a Mattapoisett Democrat, is chairman of the Joint Transportation Committee.

The grant will allow the town to install LED stop signs at three intersections that have had a high number of traffic incidents, including the intersection of Walnut Plain Road and Mary’s Pond Road, where a March 29 crash claimed the life of 76-year-old Bruce “Lumpy” Leonard and seriously injured his son Anthony, and where another serious crash occurred just last week.

“I am hopeful that these installations will heighten driver awareness and force drivers to check their speed and comply with traffic markings,” Rep. Straus said in a release. “State funding for public safety improvements is an important way in which the state can support municipalities, and I want to thank the administration and in particular Lieutenant Governor (Karyn) Polito for her direct involvement in bringing this grant to Rochester.”

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The LED lights on the stop signs are activated by radar when a motor vehicle approaches. The grant allowed for the purchase of five such LED stop signs, along with eight solar-powered radar speed monitor signs, 13 signposts, and an OS-350MX Radar Speed Trailer that can display messages, log data and recognize license plates.

Residents had been petitioning for the intersection of Walnut Plain Road and Mary’s Pond Road to become a four-way stop. They say sight lines are obstructed at portions of the intersection and vehicles travel through it going too fast.

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Straus said MassDOT will be “providing technical assistance to the town to determine whether further ‘four way’ stop signs are called for in addition to today’s announced improvements.”

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