Hudson Planning Board tackles traffic at Intel redevelopment

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Hudson Planning Board tackles traffic at Intel redevelopment
Drone photography shows the Intel property. (Photo/Tami White)

HUDSON – Residents filled the Hudson High School auditorium on Tuesday and voiced concerns about the traffic caused by the proposed Intel redevelopment. 

This summer, Intel said that it planned to sell its 149-acre parcel at 75 Reed Road to Portman Industrial. Portman, in turn, plans to demolish the existing buildings and construct a 1,284,640-square-foot distribution warehouse. 

“Greatest main street in America, right? How nice is it going to be when you’re sitting at Welly’s outside and you got a diesel truck driving by and you’re trying to enjoy?” resident Seth Bernier said. 

This Planning Board meeting specifically discussed traffic. 

Portman Industrial’s plans call for 190 loading bays and parking for 540 trailers and 447 employee parking areas.

Ron Muller & Associates Traffic Engineer Kirsten Braun conducted a peer review of the traffic impact study. She reported that there would be 770 truck trips daily as a result of the project. 

She provided a letter in mid-August regarding the findings from the traffic peer review and received responses from Portman Industrial last Friday. 

“We haven’t had a chance to look through the responses just yet, but we are working with the applicant to make sure that we iron out all of these traffic issues,” she said. 

Residents express their concerns 

Residents filled the aisles as they waited their turn to voice their concerns to the Planning Board.

Resident Sarah Merchant voiced concerns about parents who drop their kids off at Hudson Children’s Center.

Nancy Rogers, who lives on Marlboro Street, said she is the “top abutter” of the site. Safety concerns regarding existing traffic has been her concern for many years. 

“Imagine the traffic back up and congestion that would result when dealing with an increased number of crashes at that site maybe every week, not to mention the trauma suffered by everybody involved,” Rogers said. 

She added, “Something that is not reflected in your crash reports, which you do have in the traffic study, is the experiences of the residents daily …We hear the squeak of brakes and the blaring of horns as cars swerve to avoid hitting one another. The occasional accident brings us all running.” 

The traffic impact study looked at crash data from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation between 2017 to 2019. 

According to the study, the intersection of Main Street, Forest Avenue and Wilkins Street was estimated to have a crash rate of 1.36 per million entering vehicles (MEV) with a total of 28 crashes during that time period. The intersection of Marlboro Street and Reed Road was estimated to have a crash rate of 0.95 per MEV with a total of 12 crashes, and the study reports that the rotary intersection of Washington Street at Broad Street was estimated to have a crash rate of 0.87 per MEV with a total of 23 crashes.

All three of these intersections have a crash rate above the average in the MassDOT district where the property is located.

Portman Industrial’s project is located in Industrial District

As the proposed project would be located in Hudson’s M-6 Industrial Zoning District, the town’s special counsel Mark Babrowski said if the town denies the application, the warehouse would be developed without conditions and the court would grant the site plan approval.

“We’re at a deficit here … This [the proposed warehouse] is as of right use in the industrial district, it is subject only to site plan approval and the Planning Board is now going through the process of making it fit to the community,” he said. 

Babrowski said that working with the experts for the project, Hudson can come up with mitigation that Portman Industrial could live with while also promoting the health, safety and welfare of residents.

Next steps 

According to Planning Board Chair Robert D’Amelio, the next public hearing will concern the civil aspects of the project, such as underground utilities, site development and erosion control. The Board will also hold workshops for residents to learn more about the traffic issues of the proposed redevelopment. 

“One thing at a time, we felt was the best way to handle it,” he said.

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