Updated Cranberry Highway plans feature new U-turn, wider shoulder

Jun 14, 2013

Updated plans for the reconstruction of Cranberry Highway in East Wareham feature a new U-turn, a slightly wider shoulder, and a smaller scope of work overall.

Town officials and representatives from engineering firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. hosted a seven-hour informational meeting at Town Hall on Friday, during which they unveiled plans updated as a result of citizens' input during a July, 2012 public hearing.

The Mass. Department of Transportation project, which formerly was proposed to begin just east of Cranberry Plaza (where Walmart and Stop & Shop are located) and end at the Bourne town line, is now slated to end approximately 1,000 feet east of Red Brook Road.

Susan Kremer, chief highway engineer for Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., said the smaller scope of work was largely due to available funding.

The project is slated to cost approximately $9 million. The design includes widening the highway from 56 feet to 70 feet; constructing a 6-foot wide, 4-inch high median; adding shoulders for bicyclists; and constructing sidewalks on both sides of the road.

The new design adds a U-turn between the traffic lights outside of Cranberry Plaza and the lights at the intersection of Cranberry Highway and Main Avenue.

"You won't have to drive eight-tenths of a mile down, loop around, and go all the way back," said Selectmen Chair Peter Teitelbaum, noting that many residents at last summer's public hearing were concerned about the inability to change directions for such a stretch.

Also in response to citizens' concerns, the highway's shoulders will be extended to 5-feet wide, as opposed to the previously proposed 4-feet wide, "to provide better bicycling accommodations," said Kremer.

To accomodate for the wider shoulders, each of the four travel lanes were reduced from 12-feet to 11-feet wide in the design.

Crosswalks will be included at the traffic lights.

"It seems many business-owners are happy with the new plans," said Teitelbaum, noting that many had stopped by the informational session. "I'm pleased with the turnout."

Despite some initial talk about the Town of Wareham taking over the ownership and maintenance of Cranberry Highway following the completion of the project — an idea unpopular among both officials and residents — the state now says it will retain ownership and maintenance responsibilities of the road.

Construction on the multi-year project is slated to begin in 2016. It will be completed in multiple phases and include evening and nighttime construction and a moratorium on construction in the summer, according to the state.

Check back! Wareham Week will have drawings of the new plans as soon as possible!