New Roundabout, Traffic Light Added to Common Street

An overhead view of Common Street, including the new roundabout on the right end, and the new traffic light at Common and Spring streets (left side, near the green sections). A much used road in Watertown has undergone a transformation this summer, and drivers will see a new roundabout and a traffic light. The roundabout is located at the five-prong intersection of Common Street with Orchard Street and Church Street. Workers have completed the repaving of the intersection and the roundabout is operational, according to the Watertown Department of Public Works. “The contractor has placed temporary pavement markings, signage and message boards throughout the area,” the DPW announcement said.

See the Detours Coming Up for the Common St. Project

Detours will be set up around the repaving project on Common Street. The work area (in yellow) also includes Katherine Road. The close roads are in red. The detours are shown in purple and the streets open only to local traffic are in lime green. Detours will be set up for a week in Watertown around the repaving area on Common Street.

Repaving of Common Street Will Close Several Watertown Streets for a Week

The Watertown Department of Public Works is remodeling Common Street and surrounding streets. The following information was provided by the Watertown DPW:

Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 7 the Common Street project will enter an important phase. At that time, road reclamation (pulverization) of the road base, roadway fine grading, and paving of the binder (first) course of pavement is planned for Common Street (Columbia Street through and including the Orchard Street intersection) and Katherine Road (from Common Street to Church Street). Weather permitting, this phase of work will take approximately one week to complete.

DPW Announces Temporary Walking Routes to WHS During Common Street Project

The Watertown Department of Public Works provided this update on the Common Street road project:

Over the summer, the Town has begun construction along Common Street from Mount Auburn Street to the Church Street/Orchard Street intersection, including portions of Columbia Street and Spring Street as part of the Common Street improvement project. The scope of the project includes the full reconstruction of each roadway with the objective of increasing safety and improving operations for all users within this corridor. General information is available at the Town’s web-site:

Construction will continue during the fall. As students are heading back to school, safety through the active construction zone is paramount. DPW, working with the School Department and Police Department Traffic Division, has developed a temporary pedestrian safety and control plan (See photo above).

Parts of Common Street Closing for Construction Starting This Week

The Watertown Department of Public Works announced that the construction project on Common Street will soon begin, and the street will be closed much of the day. 

The project includes creating a roundabout at the intersection of Common Street, Orchard Street and Church Street. Also, the intersection with Spring Street will be redesigned. The DPW sent out the following announcement:
Beginning Monday, July 23, Common Street will be closed between Mt. Auburn Street and Orchard Street between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., with local access provided to abutters and Middlesex Road residents only. The closure will also include the intersection of Spring Street — there will be no access to Common Street from Spring Street.

Common St. Project Approved, Including Rotary at Orchard St. Intersection

The intersection where Common Street meets Orchard Street and Church Street is well known for being a free-for-all, seat of your pants place to drive through, but that will change when it is turned into a roundabout during the renovation project for which funding was approved by the Town Council on Tuesday night. When the project is complete, the vast area of asphalt will be trimmed down with new islands, planting and a landscaped roundabout in the middle. The project will also include major changes for the intersection of Common and Spring streets, and work on other nearby streets. The new configuration of the intersection will make it safer for drivers and pedestrians, said Department of Public Works Superintendent Gerald Mee. “Ultimately we concluded the roundabout was the best solution,” Mee said.

Changes on Common Street Will Help Cyclists, Bike Path Planned on Marshall Street

Changes will be made to help bicyclists get through and around one of Watertown’s more tricky intersections. 

The Department of Public Work is finalizing plans to restructure the Common Street intersection with Orchard Street and Church Street, as well as the nearby Common Street and Spring Street intersection. Common Street at Orchard and Church streets will become a rotary, and bicyclists can either follow the roadway around the round-about, or use the pedestrian paths around the edge. Heading toward Mt. Auburn Street, members of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee had questions about whether bicycles should be encouraged to stay on Common Street, or continue down Spring and use another side street to get to Mt. Auburn.

See Details of Plans to Redesign Mt. Auburn, Common Streets

Watertown officials joined transportation engineers Thursday night to present concepts for two major roadway projects that aim to improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. The public forum, held during a meeting of the Town Council’s Public Works Committee, provided an update on the Mt. Auburn Street reconstruction project as well as early designs for the Common Street improvement project. Residents were given the opportunity to weigh in on goals of the projects and provide feedback on design concepts. “We are very early in the process of these projects and this is the first of many community meetings we will have,” said Councilor Cecilia Lenk, who chairs the Public Works Committee.