A temporary traffic pattern could impact the amount of traffic drivers run into when headed to some South Shore beaches this summer. Hingham is testing what town officials call a “road diet” as a way to improve safety on a popular roadway.
The road diet, also called a lane reduction, reduces the 4-lane stretch of road east of the 3A rotary to two lanes, one in each direction. The now unused traffic lanes can now be used by pedestrians and cyclists.
The traffic posts went up over the weekend and will be in place through the end of July as the town collects data on the pilot program. They say the road is known for speeding and accidents, a trend they are hoping to change by reducing the lanes. A report showed 40-percent of crashes on the roadway result in injury.
Drivers navigating through it on Summer and Rockland Streets were less than happy about it, especially those who say they cannot avoid it while commuting to Hull.
“It’s killing our town,” Beverly Mcinnis said. “They can’t get into Hull. Nobody wants to come down now because they don’t want to sit in a traffic.”
Traffic is a problem drivers fear will only get worse in the summer, but town officials in Hingham, who worked with town officials in Hull and Cohasset on the program, said there is a reason they are testing it during the busy season.
“We want to understand the impacts at the peak time of the year,” Hingham Town Administrator Tom Mayo said. “If we do it during the dead of winter, we won’t understand what it would do in July when we actually build it.”
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Cameras and traffic counters are up to collect the data needed to decide if the temporary diet should be a permanent solution. If the pilot proves to be successful, MassDOT said putting the new traffic pattern in place would likely take several years.
“We’ll see what happens,” Jack Tolson, a delivery driver who uses the roadway often said. “If there’s no more accidents, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.”