News

Route 101 Bypass ‘horrendous’

Thursday, September 13, 2012

By KATHY CLEVELAND

Staff Writer

MILFORD – The latest fatal accident on the Route 101 bypass has selectmen looking for ways to improve the road’s safety.

“We have lost a lot of people” there, said Selectman Mark Fougere, who called the section of Route 101 between the exit for Lorden Plaza and Route 13 “horrendous.”

A Merrimack man, Erich Eger, 49, died of massive injuries on the evening of Sept. 4 after the Honda Accord he was driving drifted over the yellow line and collided head-on with a tractor-trailer.

Fougere said the town should get the Nashua Regional Planning Commission to consider putting road widening in the state’s 10-year highway plan and build a median as a temporary measure.

Selectman Tim Finan agreed that this is a good time to bring up the issue, but in general board members were not optimistic about the possibility of road widening.

“We may never see it in our lifetime,” said Selectmen’s Chairman Gary Daniels.

Selectmen said they would ask Police Capt. Chris Nervik for accident reports for that section of 101.

The Sept. 4 accident was at least the third fatal crash in five years on that part of the road.

On Aug. 11, 2008, Kira Guild, 23, of Wilton, died after her Jeep Liberty crossed over the lane and collided with a Isuzu Rodeo on the overpass near Lorden Plaza. Milford Police never reported a cause.

On Nov. 10, 2008, a Fitchburg, Mass., man was killed when his car veered into the opposite lane on Route 101, just west of Lorden Plaza, and hit a tractor-trailer head-on.

Retired Police Chief Fred Douglas, who once said he tells his family not to drive the road, lobbied for safety improvements to the Route 101 Bypass after a string of accidents in 2002.

Several years ago the state Department of Transportation installed rumble strips in the center lane.

There is some question, however, about whether all the strips were replaced after the state’s recent road work in the Amherst-Milford part of the two-lane highway.

The latest accident occurred around 6:45 p.m. on Sept. 4 between the Route 101A and Route 13 interchanges.

A preliminary investigation indicated that neither speed nor alcohol were factors, police said, but the department’s accident reconstruction team is trying to learn what caused Eger’s vehicle to cross the center line.

Eger, of 26 Lamson Drive, Merrimack, was driving east on Route 101 when his 2003 Accord crossed the solid yellow line, putting it into the path of the westbound tractor-trailer.

The operator of the truck, a 2003 Kenworth that was hauling a box trailer, was identified as Scott Sears, 52, of New Bedford, Mass. Sears was uninjured. There were no passengers in either vehicle,

Police ask that anyone who may have information to contact the department at 249-0630.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@
cabinet.com.

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