Rice Road Railroad Crossing

A resident submitted an alternative concept to mitigate the issues.

James Tetreault of Azimuth Land Design, LLC, the project engineer for the proposed Rice Pond Village project submitted a Providence & Worcester Railroad upgrade plan that did not fully address the issues with the Rice Road Providence & Worcester Railroad crossing. Therefore, a resident submitted an alternative plan to mitigate all of the issues experienced by the neighborhood and other road users for discussion and refinement purposes.

The project engineer, James Tetreault of Azimuth Land Design, LLC, and the developer, Steven F. Venincasa of Whitney Street Home Builders, LLC stated in the public hearing meeting that they agreed with everything proposed in the neighborhood’s railroad alternative plan, except for the standard pavement width of 24 feet. Instead, James Tetreault articulated that reducing the pavement width from 24 feet to 22 feet would decrease speed according to road studies, which James Tetreault mentioned was a goal of neighbors in the neighborhood.

Specific Issues To Be Solve

  1. The width of the Providence & Worcester Railroad crossing should be increased to a minimum of 28-feet to provide for an adequate and safe railroad crossing and added painted cross-hatched lines that increase as vehicles approach the railroad crossing and then decrease after crossing the railroad tracks, indicating to drivers to stay in their own lanes. Today, people drive on the wrong side of the road or in the center of the road. The current pavement at the railroad crossing is 19 feet in width, far too narrow for safe passage of vehicles.
  2. Rice Road width throughout should have a minimum width of 24-feet of finished pavement without exception and add a painted centerline, as deemed appropriate by the Millbury Department of Public Works or other traffic standards.
  3. This Providence & Worcester Railroad crossing originally had railroad crossing gates in the 1960s, 1970s, and maybe into the 1980s. These railroad crossing gates should be restored to ensure the safety of traffic, the same as the Curve Street and South Main Street railroad crossings in Millbury, Massachusetts.
  4. Create turning lanes on Providence Street (northbound and southbound).
  5. Add a stop sign(s) at the end of Rice Road.
  6. Restore railroad crossing signs and pavement markings to ensure awareness of drivers that the railroad crossing exists.
  7. Add a sign that indicates the sharp angle change on Rice Road after the Providence & Worcester Railroad crossing in a southeastern direction, as their is a sharp angle change and steep decline in grade.
  8. Add a guardrail to the north side of Rice Road as the road grade slopes down to Providence Street (Route 122A) to safeguard drivers from the steep grade change off the north side of Rice Road down to Providence Street (Route 122A).
  9. Add a retaining wall on the south side of Rice Road between the Providence & Worcester Railroad and Providence Road (Route 122A) to permit a greater road width on Rice Road, so vehicles turning off of Providence Road (Route 122A) southbound have more space to attempt to navigate the “impossible turn” onto Rice Road while attempting to stay in their own lane, rather than in the oncoming traffic lane.
  10. Improvement must be made to Providence Street (Route 122A) by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), as Providence Street (Route 122A) is under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ jurisdiction, especially with the proposed UN1F1ED2 project just over the Sutton town line that is supposed to be revealed in the Fall of 2021.

Our Conclusion

All of the aforementioned upgrades to the Rice Road Providence & Worcester Railroad should make Rice Road safer for the neighborhood and other road users, provided MassDOT upgrades the intersection of Rice Road and Providence Street (Route 122A) to allow for reasonable and safe turns onto Rice Road from both directions. The neighborhood would like reduced speeds on Rice Road and throughout the neighborhood, so will defer to the Millbury Department of Public Works and the Town of Millbury road standards for the pavement width of 22 feet for the full length of Rice Road, excluding the 28 foot width at the Providence & Worcester Railroad crossing itself as designed on the neighborhood’s alternative plan.

Reference

Rice Road Providence & Worcester Railroad Crossing Alternative Plan

Azimuth Land Design, LLC Railroad Crossing Plan