John Fitch Highway: A Climate Resilient Corridor

Project Overview

The City of Fitchburg through the Department of Public Works received funding to begin a redesign of John Fitch Highway (JFH) between Lunenburg Street and Summer Street from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affair’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant program.

The JFH floods frequently because the roadway is located in the floodplain and in the historic path of Baker Brook. Flood reduction of Baker Brook into JFH was a top priority in the 2020 Hazard Mitigation Plan and MVP Report (/DocumentCenter/View/7566/Fitchburg-HMP-MVP-Draft-Report_2020-11-02).

The redesign of JFH will employ best practices, including nature-based solutions to reduce flooding (like rain gardens and tree planting) and Complete Streets elements (such as shared use paths and improved crosswalks) within the right of way to improve the Corridor and the city’s climate resilience. The current project will develop a preliminary design focused on the roadway’s right-of-way. This is just the first step in the process. Additional grants and various funding sources will be sought to advance to final design and construction. The project may also be a pilot for future improvements in the northern portion of the Corridor.

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Goals
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How to Get Involved

The preliminary design concepts are ready now for community input! We want to know what you think. Review the detailed design drawings, view a short video, and take our survey by May 9th!

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Click here to view detailed design drawings. The major design choices being considered include:

  • How to separate bikes and the sidewalk from the roadway: A SEPARATED BIKE LANE (Concept 1) provides a designated area for bicyclists separate from pedestrians. A SHARED USE PATH (Concept 2) treats bicyclists and pedestrians alike. 
  • How to enhance traffic flow at a busy intersection within the corridor: A ROUNDABOUT where stormwater can be captured, or a typical intersection with a turn lane. 
  • A right turn land at the Lunenburg Street stop light. 
  • Note: These choices are independent - a roundabout or traditional intersection can be installed regardless of the choice of a separated bike lane or shared use path. 

Results of the Envision JFH Process

Congratulations to the winners of the Envision John Fitch Highway Artwork Challenge! Your prizes should be arriving soon!

  • Gina Vilayphone – Adult, Hand-drawn category
  • Camila Hernandez – Youth (13-18) category
  • Maeve Magennis, Isabella Maldonado, and Ava Bettencourt – Under 12 category (a three way tie!)

To view a recording of the public meeting on March 24 (including the announcement of artwork challenge winners and an overview of the project), click here. Thank you to everyone who provided input so far through their comments and creative artwork. Click here to view all the artwork submissions. Special thanks to Market Basket for providing prizes for our winners!

JFH improvements

For More Information

Please direct questions about this project to the Department of Public Works Engineering Department: 978-829-1915 or email JFHProject@fitchburgma.gov.

Check back here - or follow us on social media - for updates on future meetings and other ways to get involved.

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