Rep. Fiola, MassDOT discuss tearing down outdated road signs

Jo C. Goode
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted Jan. 24, 2014 @ 8:58 pm
Jan 24, 2014 at 9:10 PM

FALL RIVER — It’s been a long time since Fall River’s former factory outlets lured bargain hunters from all over the region to scour for deals in the many shops located in the city’s factory outlet district.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation even erected a large street sign on Route 24 directing potential customers to the holy grail of cheap but high-quality goods.

It’s still there and likely goes unnoticed by local motorists, save the uninformed out-of-towners.

But not for long.

This week, in a meeting with MassDOT representatives organized by Rep. Carole Fiola to discuss the Route 79 road improvement project, the topic of the outdated signs came up.

“It was really just a housekeeping issue,” Fiola said.

Michael Verseckes, spokesman for MassDOT, confirmed the sign will come down. It was part of a discussion about signs that MassDOT will be providing as the massive city road construction project proceeds.

There are also many old promotional signs around the city that once directed drivers to the factory outlets and were used as promotional campaigns by factory outlet owners.

Those could come down, too, said Director of Community Maintenance Kenneth Pacheco.

“They weren’t put up by the city, but if there is a will to take them down, sure, we can do it,” Pacheco said.

What motivated Fiola to call the meeting that also included local businessman Peter Cabral — co-owner of the former Regatta restaurant on Davol Street, which is in the middle of a large renovation — and city officials was to ensure there would be access to Cabral’s restaurant by the time its set to open, in late spring.

With the restaurant site in its current state, its hard to imagine it on a beautiful spring day, tucked in the shadows of Battleship Cove and the nearby boat ramps at Heritage State Park.

Driving south on Davol Street, Jersey barriers reroute motorists under a train trestle. The road to the former Regatta does not allow for traffic outside of heavy equipment working on the road construction and Cabral’s building crew.

Verseckes said there was a meeting with the restaurant owner in November at which MassDOT and its contractor, Barletta, discussed providing road access for the restaurant work crews, Verseckes said.

During Tuesday’s meeting, which included city traffic officials, MassDOT agreed to provide specific signs informing drivers that the restaurant is open for business. Road access to the restaurant and the community boat ramp was revised to allow for two-way traffic in and out the location.

Cabral said he came away from the meeting satisfied by the plans to accommodate the flow of traffic in and out of his new business.