NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Talks are starting up once again over a proposed roundabout on North King Street in Northampton. Some are opposed to the project, after Native American artifacts were found there.
On Tuesday night, MassDOT plans to hold a meeting to discuss new plans for the intersection
after the project was initially halted in 2021.
Carolyn Misch is the Director of Planning and Sustainability for the city of Northampton. She said the Hatfield Street intersection on North King is dangerous and both the city’s engineers and MassDOT came to the same conclusion, “The round-a-bout was the safest most effective way to dramatically reduce the impacts of these crashes at this intersection.”
However, that proposal was put on hold after it was revealed there were Native American artifacts dating back more than ten thousand years. The findings prompting a petition that received more than 50,000 signatures.
Mark Andrews is a Senior Council Resource Monitor for the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah. He’s advocating for a stoplight, which he said would better for preserving the history there, “This way we’re not really stretching out further and causing more of a disturbance to an area that has proven to be sensitive than is necessary.”
Rochelle Prunty is the General Manager at the River Valley Co-op. She said this intersection has been dangerous for years but feels a solution can be found that doesn’t further damage the site.
“It just shouldn’t be a roundabout or nothing. If we can figure out a way to do the roundabout and then that’s going to be a workable thing, great and if we can’t let’s do the next best thing,” said Prunty.
The MassDOT meeting starts at 6:30 Tuesday night and will be available to the public on Zoom.