NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – An online petition against a project that has received thousands of signatures has to lead MassDOT to put a hold on construction for now.
In 2017, MassDOT first proposed a roundabout to be built at the intersection of North King and Hatfield Street in Northampton.
However, after the state attorney general’s office released a report that the area contains ancient artifacts a petition signed by 55,000 people was formed to save about 1.3 acres of land that would be compromised by construction.
The Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office reviewed this petition and has decided to allow for a public comment process to continue to take place until January 12, leaving the intersection the way it is for now.
“Under the law, MassDOT must have a public comment period allowing people to weigh in and say hey this is a precious site. It’s an 8-10,000-year-old archaeological site precious to native Americans and asks not to go forward with this,” said a petition signer.
The petition has support from Native Americans as well as the Aquinnah Wampanoag and the Narragansett tribes all of which are calling for the preservation of the site to protect their cultural resources.
If they are not enough objections MEPA could approve the project without further review of the historic issues.