The state’s Department of Transportation plans to widen a four-mile section of Route 18 from Route 139 in North Abington to a point just south of the Route 3 interchange from two to four lanes. The road has become congested which forces traffic onto cut-through routes in residential neighborhoods, has drainage problems that create icy conditions on the road and ponds off it, a failing 1935 bridge over the Old Colony commuter rail line and a projection of doubled traffic in 2030 when the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station is built-out.
The plans show four lanes with a raised curb in the center, property takings along the four miles, a temporary bridge over the rail line until a replacement bridge is complete and new drainage basins.
The state convened a public hearing in Weymouth Wednesday night. Residents had concerns about flooding and noise. The Pond Plain neighborhood, near the rail line, wants an acoustic barrier to replace the trees planned for removal. Business owners had concerns about lost parking spaces and a raised median that will prevent turns except at intersections.
Final plans are expected by the end of 2014 with work beginning the following spring and lasting 18 to 24 months.