Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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September 19, 2013

Barreling down in Ballardvale; Traffic, speed spark safety concerns for neighbors

Traffic, speed spark safety concerns for neighbors

Watching the traffic on Tewksbury Street in Ballardvale is a little like watching a NASCAR race: It’s an accident waiting to happen.

An elderly man jogging along the edge of the asphalt one morning last week forced one car to pull over the double-yellow line into the oncoming lane of traffic — while on a hill.

A woman in a minivan, slowing to a safe speed of 30 mph, was tailgated and honked at by someone driving a Subaru station wagon who was obviously in a rush.

Delivery trucks of all shapes and sizes hurtled down the road, headed from Ballardvale center toward Tewksbury. Other trucks, some loaded with huge logs and others towing landscaping trailers, went the opposite direction.

During a two-hour stretch last Thursday morning, a reporter and photographer for The Andover Townsman stood at the end of the driveway at 93 Tewksbury St., watching firsthand as trucks, cars, joggers, dog-walkers, children, school buses and bicyclists tried to share the 18- to 20-foot wide road.

It wasn’t pretty.

Residents of the roughly 1-mile stretch of road between Ballardvale center and the Tewsksbury town line say life has become unbearably hazardous.

Over the last decade, neighbors say they have pleaded with town officials to do something, anything, about the road — to no avail.

”We’ve been working on this for 11 or 12 years,” Dianne DeLucia of 86 Tewksbury St. said

Finally, in April, DeLucia and a dozen neighbors penned a letter to town officials highlighting the dangers of the busy thoroughfare.

According to the letter, trucks that are too large and too heavy are fracturing the asphalt. Storm drains are depressed by the constant beating of 18-wheelers. A water main recently broke. When two cars are passing, the letter said, there is no room for pedestrians.

”On more than one occasion, people have come within mere inches of being hit by speeding vehicles,” they wrote. “Families do not allow their children to walk to the ice cream shop in Ballardvale during the summer months for fear of them being hit.”

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