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Crash Data Says More Accidents on Elliott Street Since Highway Upgrades

The state has taken a road safety audit of both Elliott and High streets, where interchanges with Route 128 were re-engineered, to look at possible traffic and safety improvements.

Elliott Street at the Route 128 interchange is a source of angst for commuters in town.
Elliott Street at the Route 128 interchange is a source of angst for commuters in town.
A year-and-a-half after the state spent $23 million to re-engineer a section of Route 128 and two interchanges in Danvers, it's not just residents and motorists complaining about traffic, police say the number of accidents has increased in certain spots.

Recognizing there is further work to be done to improve safety and traffic flow, the state is engaged in a study of Elliott Street, in particular, where three new stoplights were added and new highway ramps installed, completely changing the dynamic of the interchange from Liberty Street down to State Road.

Town Manager Wayne Marquis says a road safety audit was conducted last month by a working group of state and town representatives and a final report should be available in the next week or so with recommendations for the state and/or town. The audit did include the highway interchange at High Street as well.

The state Department of Transportation, state police, town engineers, town police, traffic engineering consultants, state Rep. Ted Speliotis and Marquis met Nov. 22 for a site visit to both areas and discussion of the issues back at Town Hall. Marquis said Speliotis initiated the review and he [Marquis] was impressed by the degree of collaboration evident.

Even though the state does have jurisdiction over both interchanges, the DOT is looking to actively work with the town to address the problems, Marquis said. He's not sure what the final report will yield, but expects it will contain some measures both the state and town can take.

A recent report from Danvers Police Public Safety Analyst Sarah Slavin says 56 accidents occurred between January and July 2013 at the on-ramp to Route 128 North from Elliott Street. That's an 84 percent increase over the average number of accidents there the previous two years during the same period.

In 2011, there were 25 and in 2012, there were 39. She noted 16 of those 39 accidents in the first seven months of 2012, however, happened after the new ramps opened in June.

She said 26 of the accidents reported for 2013 involved a driver taking a left turn while five were due to rear-end collisions.

Those numbers don't include any incidents the state police may have handled or accidents in which police weren't called to the scene.

Slavin also noted those figures may include accidents that occurred on Route 128 near Exit 22 and do include accidents at the intersections of Elliott Street with State Road and Liberty Street because those intersections are often given as the location for crashes at the ramps.

One other thing the data does not speak to is accidents on the ramps themselves, where state officials say there were daily accidents prior to the upgrades.
Elise Stephens December 11, 2013 at 12:19 PM
I live off of Water and Liberty and I cannot tell you how many people I see trying to ENTER 128 by using the EXIT ramps....The light system is fubar-red but the idiots behind the wheel who don't understand lane markings make it even worse. Get your heads out of your butts, and your eyes on the road-NOT ON YOUR GPS maps!!!
Tom Lyons December 11, 2013 at 01:45 PM
The traffic backs up to Locust St. at 6:00 PM and Poplar St. is bumper to bumper. It is a disaster. That intersection is not designed for that volume of traffic.
Brian Dapice December 11, 2013 at 07:21 PM
I've found it more productive to get on & off the highway, much much more productive. Perhaps those far enders should stop playing with their mobile devices while driving and people should know what lane they are in. I travel through this intersection with ease daily.
Sean Ward December 12, 2013 at 08:53 AM
So it took them 3 years, over 100 accidents, and an expensive "study" to figure out what the rest of us knew immediately after it opened just by using it once. Keep up the great work DOT. Maybe you'll get it straightened out before anyone important dies.
Pat December 12, 2013 at 10:04 AM
Hope they are looking at the traffic backing up almost to Beverly during peak hours. This forces a second (illegal due to a double yellow line) lane to be created in order to beat the line and take a left turn at Liberty Street.
Elise Stephens December 12, 2013 at 10:14 AM
Pat- I've lived in Danvers my whole life and people have been creating an imaginary 'left turn' lane there on 62 for as long as I an remember....but the intersection itself has not helped any.
Pat December 12, 2013 at 11:57 AM
I also grew up in town, by the Yacht Club. and I agree about the imaginary line, however I have seen it start way back by Folly Hill Farm during peak times. People used to just sneak in way further down almost at Liberty street

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