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Councillors want greater MassDOT maintenance accountability

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  Several City Councillors are unhappy with MassDOT’s lack of maintenance of several areas in the city for which the agency is responsible. At last week’s meeting, Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo requested that the mayor contact the state transportation department to clean up areas under its jurisdiction in and around Bell Circle. Rizzo said there are numerous shopping carts, trash and debris, as well as the median strip on American Legion Highway in need of a cleanup.

  Rizzo said the Bell Circle area isn’t the only area in the city in need of attention from MassDOT. “There are a lot of areas I noticed,” said Rizzo. “Going up onto the onramp onto Rte. 1 on Sargent Street, it’s filthy over there. For whatever reason, it is just not being maintained and taken care of.

  “Our public works department takes care of what they are responsible for; I’m just asking, and we are all asking, that the DOT take care of their jurisdiction.”

  Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna said that many of the areas under MassDOT maintenance jurisdiction were under the jurisdiction of the state’s Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) until last year. “The DOT is not keeping up with anything,” said McKenna. “It took me a month and a half to have an island cut where the Sunoco station is going into Shirley Avenue.”

  Once a new governor is elected, McKenna said, the council should consider contacting the governor to have the jurisdiction for the maintenance switched back to the DCR. “I do think that the DCR has the equipment and the MassDOT doesn’t,” said McKenna. “There is a real problem, and it looks disgusting.”

  Typically, Rizzo said, he gets a response from the DOT, but he said the response was delayed when it came to the request to clean up the area around Bell Circle.

  “It’s embarrassing that people drive through the city and see the condition it’s in,” he said. At a minimum, Rizzo said, the city might consider bringing in prison crews or Roca (a local nonprofit) to help clean up the areas.

  “MassDOT is supposed to do it and gets paid to do it, so why get Roca or someone else? That’s their responsibility,” said McKenna.

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