The fraught-with-peril Bacon Street intersection that links Natick and Wellesley at Rte. 135 is going to get a much needed upgrade to go along with the Bacon Street bridge replacement project that the MBTA already has underway.
The 100-plus-year-old steel bridge is being replaced with a design that could accommodate possible construction of a future third track for commuter rail service. Work began last year on the project, which could be complete as soon as a year from now.
But what happens under the bridge might be more of interest to any of you who have driven, walked, run or biked there.
Wellesley Executive Director Meghan Jop shared a brief update from the town’s Traffic Committee at the Select Board’s Nov. 16 meeting, noting that the Bacon Street/Rte. 135 intersection is close to Wellesley Square but unsafe to navigate. There are limited sidewalks under the bridge and “terrible sight lines” that make it difficult to cross Rte. 135 to get to the Wellesley College side.
The town asked the MBTA to think creatively, and it did, Jop said. A sidewalk will be extended on the Natick side of the bridge underpass, and a rapid flashing beacon will be installed to help people cross Rte. 135. This work will be conducted while the bridge construction is being done.
State funding, secured via State Rep. Alice Peisch and her office, will also be used to explore the possibility of full signalization across Central Street/Rte. 135, and results of that study would be presented to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which controls that property. The results of that effort will materialize further down the road.
“We’ve made some really good strides in terms of pedestrian safety at the area when this is completed,” Jop said. “It sounds small, but I can’t tell you how much it means from a connectivity standpoint,” she added.
Now and after Bacon Street bridge photos, from the MBTA: