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Hampshire Daily Voice serves Amherst, Easthampton, Hadley, Northampton & South Hadley

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UMass Amherst Shortcut Avoiding Route 9 Traffic Could Be Closed To Commuters

The intersection of Route 9 (Russell Street) and West Street in Hadley. Taking West Street to UMass Amherst is a long-held tradition for local commuters. Photo Credit: Copyright 2020 Google Maps
The shortcut avoiding Route 9 from Northampton to UMass Amherst is shown in red. (The return shortcut is in yellow and red.) Photo Credit: Copyright 2020 Google Maps

The backroads to UMass Amherst may soon be shut off to many commuters as Hadley looks to address speeding on the residential roads.

Knowing how to avoid traffic on Route 9 in Hadley is a sign of a true local, but the popular West Street, North Lane, and Cemetary Road route to and from UMass could be made slower or closed off to commuters.

A recent traffic study found that most motorists do not obey the 30 mph speed limit in the area of the shortcut, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

The shortcut, from the Coolidge Bridge to UMass, passes through residential and farmland and. The roadway becomes quite windy at times. Handmade signs reminding motorists that children live on those streets and asking them to slow down have been a mainstay on the roadways for years.

To calm traffic on the shortcut, town officials are considering making North Lane a one-way street and/or installing speed tables - which are kind of like wide speedbumps.

The Hadley Select Board will discuss the shortcut at its Oct. 21 meeting. In related news, West Street is being repaved this month, October.

While officials are seeking to remedy speeding, they are also aware that the shortcut is important in alleviating traffic congestion on heavily traveled Route 9 - a major passage used to access Amherst’s many campuses including UMass Amherst. Under normal circumstances, UMass Amherst has a campus community of about 35,000 students, staff, and faculty during the academic year.

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