Shrewsbury proposes closing Purinton St. access to Rt. 20

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Shrewsbury proposes closing Purinton St. access to Rt. 20
Photo by/Laura Hayes
Currently, drivers can access Route 20 using Purinton Street.

By Laura Hayes, Contributing Writer

SHREWSBURY — Drivers may soon be no longer able to use Purinton Street in Shrewsbury to cut from Route 20 to Grafton Street. 

The town is proposing to close the end of Purinton Street and turn it into a cul-de-sac. The planning board approved plans to do so during its May 6 meeting.

“I think it makes that a whole much safer, as I frequent that street. I think this is a great idea,” said Planning Board member Joseph Thomas.

According to Town Engineer Andy Truman, the idea to close Purinton Street was proposed as part of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) widening of Route 20 to two traffic lanes in both directions from the Worcester city line to a spot just past Purinton. 

Truman said three properties — 63, 65 and 67 Purinton Street — would be “quite significantly” impacted by Route 20 being widened. One of the properties’ driveways would have pulled out directly onto Route 20, Truman said.

He added that there are currently speeding issues on Purinton Street. 

“A lot of people use Purinton as a cut through to get to Grafton Street lights,” Truman said. “They typically do not slow down as they come off Route 20.”

Shrewsbury reached out to the nearby property owners in early 2019. Truman said the town received “unanimous support” at that point.

Truman said the work to convert Purinton Street would be done as Route 20 is widened, which he estimated would begin this summer. 

Planning Board member Purna Rao said any impacted drivers trying to get onto Route 20 would now have to use Grafton Street, which would be able to handle the traffic.

This conversation comes amid an ongoing public discussion about safety issues along Route 20 in Shrewsbury. 

Public officials note that they’ve been working on a variety of projects for years. Recently though, Selectmen have reached out to the MassDOT and to US Rep. James McGovern for help limiting left turns onto Route 20 and for federal funding to pay for other improvements.

Shrewsbury proposes closing Purinton St. access to Rt. 20
Graphic by/Dakota Antelman
A graphic shows Purinton St and the location of a proposed cul-de-sac to eliminate access to Route 20.