hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

March 20, 2013

Safety changes for dangerous intersection

Drivers' complaints bring focus to Broadway, North Broadway area

By Shawn Regan
Staff Writer

---- — It’s an area that can be a nightmare for drivers — especially during rush hour.

Heavy traffic channels off Interstate 495 through the area, as drivers head toward the downtown and other parts of the inner city.

At the same time, drivers heading to and from Haverhill High School pass through this area at various times — the morning rush hour, during the after-school rush and at various other hours, including the times of sports games and practices.

The popular Chicken Connection restaurant is also in this area, with customers pulling out of the parking lot into the busy street.

But help is on the way, city officials said.

Safety improvements are coming to the busy intersection of Broadway and North Broadway, midway between Lafayette Square and the Route 495 Interchange.

Mayor James Fiorentini’s aide David Van Dam said residents asked the mayor to consider putting a traffic light at the intersection, which includes an especially difficult left turn from Broadway to North Broadway during the busiest times of the day.

Residents said there have been several car crashes at the location. They also complained the crosswalk there is tough to see, Van Dam said.

At the mayor’s request, the city’s Traffic and Safety Committee reviewed the intersection and recommended that left turns be prohibited from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., City Councilor Michael Hart said. Hart is chairman of the committee, which includes police officers, city planners and traffic experts.

“The Police Department feels the intersection is tough, especially in the late afternoon, but that a traffic light is not needed,” Hart said.

Hart said he will recommend that his fellow councilors send the item to the city’s Planning Department to draft an ordinance prohibiting left turns from Broadway to North Broadway from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. The council would then have to pass the ordinance at a future meeting, Hart said.