WRENTHAM — The state Department of Transportation will be conducting a traffic count and a speed study on a dangerous stretch of Route 1, Police Chief Bill McGrath said Wednesday.
The study will start in about two weeks and comes after a meeting McGrath, state Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, and Lt. Timothy Curtain, commander of the Foxboro state police barracks, had with MassDOT officials on Tuesday.
McGrath is pushing for the state to install dividers or Jersey barriers to enhance safety on Route 1 between Thurston and Madison streets. The effort comes in the wake of recent traffic accidents and an explosion of commercial, residential and retail developments in the area.
McGrath said the study is the first step in a long process to make safety improvements along that stretch of the four-lane highway. The chief calls his effort “united to divide Route 1.”
The highway needs Jersey barriers or at least dividers, called delineaters, like those the state installed on Route 1 in Plainville at the intersection of George Street, according to McGrath.
Dividing the highway, as the state did several years ago in Walpole and Sharon, will make travel safer because drivers will no longer be able to cross the highway or take left turns. Instead, motorists would make U-turns at traffic lights at Thurston and at Madison streets, he said.
McGrath said state officials listened to concerns about safety. They expressed concern that trucks would not be able to make the U-turns at the Madison and Thurston street intersections. The chief said he suggested that trucks use alternate routes to get to their destination.
He said state officials also want to hear from other town officials, including the town administrator and town planner.
A spokesperson for MassDOT could not be immediately reached for comment.
The Route 1 corridor has seen an increase in development in Wrentham and Plainville, where the Plainridge Casino is located.
Supercharged Entertainment, which boasts of being the largest indoor, multi-level go-kart racing track in the world, opened recently across from Luciano’s, increasing traffic on the highway.
In addition, Ledgeview Way is expected to open soon when traffic lights at Madison Street are activated. The development includes 240 apartments, an assisted living facility, retail stores, hotels, offices and restaurants.
Future development is also eyed for the area, including a proposed Market Basket.