Nitsch Engineering is providing transportation and traffic engineering services for the reconstruction of the Route 5 (Pleasant Street) / Conz Street intersection. Due to the lack of control and high speeds through the intersection (especially on Route 5), the intersection consistently had crash rates well above the statewide average. MassDOT selected Nitsch Engineering to analyze the existing conditions and design improvements that would reduce the crash rate and improve safety for all modes of travel.

Nitsch Engineering began by performing a Road Safety Audit (RSA) prior to initiating design development. We organized a one-day site visit of the project location attended by members of MassDOT, the City DPW, Fire, Police, and other stakeholders to discuss elements of the current intersection that may contribute to the high crash rate. By soliciting input from a wide cross section of stakeholders, we were able to develop mitigation strategies that can be employed to correct deficiencies in the intersection. Nitsch Engineering prepared a technical report summarizing existing conditions and crash data, along with recommendations for improvements that are categorized by magnitudes of cost and relative ease of implementation.

We also prepared a Functional Design Report that analyzed existing traffic data and compared a future “No-Build” traffic scenario with five different proposed alternatives. As a result of this analysis, Nitsch Engineering concluded that a single-lane roundabout would be the most cost-effective solution that balances safety, pedestrian and bicycle accommodation, impact to abutter property, vehicle level of service, and cost.

Nitsch Engineering coordinated design efforts between MassDOT, the City, and local citizens by presenting the proposed findings at two Northampton Transportation and Parking Commission hearings, a general public informational meeting, and several informal coordination meetings at the MassDOT District office. We moved the project through each design phase, provided environmental coordination, designed pavement improvements, and prepared construction plans, specifications, cost estimate, and right-of-way documents.