Following a series of crashes along Bradford's busy Route 125, the state Department of Transportation has agreed to install a “no left turn” signal in front of the Dunkin', state Rep. Andy Vargas said.
In addition to the new signal, right arrow and “only” pavement marking legends will be installed in the exiting lane of the access driveway of the doughnut shop at 915 South Main St., near the Ward Hill Connector.
Other signs will be added along Route 125 northbound and southbound to better alert drivers of the new traffic pattern and of the 35 mph speed limit, Vargas said.
“These small changes can frankly save lives and prevent some of the serious accidents we've seen. I'm grateful that DOT will deliver these much-needed changes,” Vargas said. “The City Council, especially President Melinda Barrett and the City Engineer John Pettis also followed up and stayed on the issue throughout. A mix of citizens, local and state government make these kinds of public safety enhancements possible.”
Since the shop opened about a year ago, at least six crashes have been reported, including two in February. The shop relocated from its previous location at Academy Plaza and at its new location, Route 125 is four lanes wide.
Drivers coming from the Ward Hill Connector crest a hill and may find a car stopped in the left lane and waiting to turn into the shop. Customers leaving and hoping to go north on Route 125 must cross two lanes of southbound traffic and merge into the left northbound lane.
One such accident involved 30-year-old Lauren Halkiotis. According to Vargas, it was the Haverhill resident's story that inspired him to petition MassDOT so ardently for change.
On Jan. 18, Halkiotis was heading to work in North Andover when a pickup truck turning left out of Dunkin' collided with the passenger side of her car, pushing her car into another car. She spent four days in a Boston hospital recovering from severe internal injuries.
Shortly after her accident, Halkiotis pushed for the “left turn only” signal.
"With the right signage, such as 'no left turn' out of the Dunkin' Donuts, it would be safer, or if they installed a traffic light," she said. "A lot of people are saying it's up to the driver, but signs and signals are meant to help guide us. It's an extremely dangerous area and unfortunately for some, there's a lack of patience. I don't want to see anyone get killed."
Work to implement the new signal and signage could begin as early as this week, Vargas said.