rehoboth turnabout

A rendering of what the intersection of routes 44 and 118 in Rehoboth could look like with a reconstruction project.

REHOBOTH — One of the most dangerous intersections in Southeastern Massachusetts, the junction of routes 44 and 118, is slated to be replaced by a rotary.

At a public hearing this past week, state Department of Transportation officials outlined rough plans for the rotary — something that has been in the making for a few years.

Plans actually call for a small, one-lane rotary known as a roundabout.

MassDOT considers the signalized intersection a “high crash location.”

An estimated 20,000-plus vehicles pass through the intersection every day. It is a popular route not only in town, but for those heading to and from Dighton, Seekonk, Taunton and Attleboro.

The intersection, also known as Winthrop and Anawan streets, has been described as confusing and dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians because of vehicle speed and its off-center alignment.

There have been numerous accidents over the years, several serious.

Selectman and Highway Superintendent Michael Costello is a big backer of the proposal, contending it’s the best solution.

Rotaries and their smaller version slow traffic down and keep traffic movement flowing instead of stopping at traffic signals.

The traffic signals would be removed and pedestrian improvements, including new sidewalks and crosswalks, are also part of the project.

Some residents have aired concerns the slated changes could make things worse.

Downtown Foxboro has a rotary around its town common, and two roundabouts are located in Norfolk, and they have worked out well.

Rehoboth selectmen plan to discuss the roundabout at their meeting Monday. They are also slated to discuss with the building committee and vote on the latest public safety building proposal. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the senior center at 55 Bay State Road (Route 118).

Another state hearing is expected to get more feedback and update residents and town officials on the roundabout plans, but construction is scheduled to begin in 2021.

Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.

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