Bright signs to go dark at Natick stop
The state Department of Transportation said yesterday that it will cut power to the lighted advertisements that tower over the Natick rest stop on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
The brightly lit signs, which include advertisements for McDonald’s and Gulf, have long been the subject of complaints from nearby residents. Adam Hurtubise, a Transportation Department spokesman, said the signs would be dark by tonight.
Hurtubise said the department had tried to negotiate a compromise with McDonald’s, but had been unsuccessful.
McDonald’s, which has long resisted altering its signs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The decision by the department was made after lobbying by state Representative David P. Linsky on behalf of residents whose property abuts the Natick service area.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,’’ said Linsky, a Natick Democrat. “This has been something that’s been a thorn in the side of people in Natick for years.’’
The signs “never should have been as large or as high as they have been,’’ he said.
“I’ve been working closely with the new DOT and, before that with the Mass. Turnpike Authority, for years to finally get it done.’’
Linsky first broke the news on Twitter. The department later confirmed its decision.
Hurtubise said that once negotiations with McDonald’s broke down, the Transportation Department reviewed its contract with the company and decided it was within its authority to darken the signs indefinitely.
“The signs have been an ongoing issue for abutters,’’ Hurtubise said. “They made the case to us that this is a quality-of-life issue. . . . We tried to get it resolved [with McDonald’s], and we were unable to, so to address the abutters’ concerns, we have decided to shut off the lights.’’
Linsky said the change was welcome news.
“I’ve been urging the DOT to do whatever they could do legally within their power to alleviate this situation, Linsky said.
“They’ve explored all their options, and made their determination, that they can legally do this, and I am ecstatic,’’ he said.
Dan Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.