Milford intersection upgrades planned to improve traffic, air quality
Thursday, January 31, 2013
MILFORD – The town already has one roundabout, at the Milford Oval, and traffic engineers say a second one at the intersection of Route 13 and Emerson and Armory roads would go far to alleviate congestion and reduce accidents.
But high costs mean that’s not going to happen any time soon, and engineers have settled on Plan B.
Last week representatives from CLD Consulting Engineers, Inc., held a hearing on the plan, which includes more turning lanes and modifications to the existing signals and their timing.
Right now traffic backs up on Route 13 into Armory and on Emerson into Route 13, said CLD project engineer Robert Lyford, and poor sight lines and the split timing of lights make accidents more likely.
The aim is to improve traffic flow, consultants said, which would improve air quality and safety for vehicles and pedestrians.
Roundabouts, said project manager Heidi Marshall, virtually reduce the chance of personal injuries in accidents to zero, but it costs at least a million dollars to build one in New Hampshire.
The chosen plan calls for:
• designated left-turn-only lanes from both Armory Road and Emerson Road onto Route 13,
• new signals for those turns,
• a new right-turn lane on Route 13 south onto Armory,
• and striping to separate vehicles from pedestrians and bicyclists.
No lane changes are planned for Route 13 north, but a small shoulder for bicyclists and runners might be built there.
Because the town right of way on Emerson Road is not wide enough for three lanes, the three westbound lanes on Emerson Road might be reduced to two.
If that happens they will combine the “through or straight” movement with one of the two turn lanes, whichever would create the most free-flowing traffic.
Morning traffic reduction
Projected benefits include a reduction in morning and afternoon peak hour congestion, improved air quality, and improved safety. State statistics show 29 vehicular accidents in 2009 and development is expected to increase in that area.
The work will be paid for with a $360,000 federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant, which will be combined with $90,000 of local matching funds.
Rick Holder, owner of Hampshire Hills Sports and Fitness Club and the Hampshire Dome on Emerson Road, was among the handful of people at the hearing.
He said the improvements would make a “sea change” at the congested intersection.
The intersection is adjacent to Route 101 Bypass interchanges and is considered a major route for local and regional traffic with heavy commuter traffic
Voters supported the plan in 2011, and it is considered a high priority of the Milford Planning Board and Traffic Safety Committee.
If the state Department of Transportation approves the design, construction will likely begin in the fall.
The next step in the process is an investigation of historic and cultural features that might be affected, including the John Burns monument off Armory Road.
To learn more
More information can be found on the town of Milford’s web site, in the community development section under Active Projects.
Kathy Cleveland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 673-3100, ex. 304