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Council Hears Preliminary Route 3 Plans

The traffic study so far calls for numerous improvements to Route 3 to address future traffic issues.

 

About one week before the town will host an informational meeting on an ongoing Route 3 traffic study a consultant with the project presented the Town Council with the preliminary results of the study Monday.

Chris Granatini, one of the traffic consultants working on the report, said all but one of the intersections along the state highway as it passes through Rocky Hill currently are considered acceptable for current traffic patterns.

But in study models that project traffic patterns out to the year 2030, many of the intersections will degrade and approach the point of failure, he said.

“There are needs to do physical improvements on Route 3, on West Street, as development occurs,” he told the council.

The only intersection on Route 3, also known as Cromwell Avenue, that currently is approaching failure in town is the intersection of Main and West streets.

The preliminary changes proposed in the study, Granatini said, currently include:

Creating two lanes through the intersection of Inwood Road at Cromwell Avenue to meet up with the two lanes in Cromwell on Cromwell Avenue.

Widen Cromwell Avenue to the west of its intersection with Brook Street to develop a left turn “pocket” from Cromwell Avenue onto Brook Street.

  • Create a right turn lane on France Street for cars turning onto Cromwell Avenue. The long-range solution for the intersection would be to widen Route 3 between West and France streets to provide two left turn lanes on France Street.
  • Increase capacity at Elm Street and Cromwell Avenue by creating a double left turn lane onto Elm Street. Widen a section of Elm Street, from Cromwell Avenue to the Big Y Supermarket, to create two lanes. Doing so would improve traffic conditions all the way down to New Britain Avenue, Granatini said. Create a northbound right turn lane from Cromwell Avenue onto Elm Street.
  • Lengthen the right turn at the intersection of New Britain and Cromwell avenues and lengthen the right turn lane on New Britain Avenue to get more cars into that lane. Carry the current two through lanes on New Britain Avenue so they extend farther along the highway.
  • Do a minor realignment at West and Main streets to make the intersection more “conventional.”
  • Realign Brook Street at its intersection with Henkel Way in order to make Brook Street more of a side street instead of a through street. Create a “roundabout” or traffic circle at that intersection to provide a buffer of sorts between the residential neighborhoods on Brook Street and a nearby business park. Granatini said the study would also recommend planting more trees along Brook Street to make it feel narrower and slow down traffic. A common complain in the area now is that cars travel too fast on the road. The roundabout also would allow tractor-trailer trucks that currently accidentally travel down Brook Street as they seek the business park to do a 360-degree turn and get back to the business park.  The roundabout would help keep trucks from entering the residential areas along Brook Street, Granatini said.
  • Create extra lanes along West Street to facilitate access to the Route 3 Bridge. This would get people off more easily onto the highway, he said.
  • Connect Elm and West streets to dampen traffic volume coming off the Route 3 Bridge and onto West Street, allowing motorists the choice to bypass West Street by going down Elm Street.
  • Make improvements for pedestrian and bike improvements along Route 99 up to the Silas Deane Highway, including building a five-foot shoulder along Main Street to accommodate bicycle traffic.

Mayor Anthony LaRosa said he was pleased with the proposal to improve bicycle traffic on the highway because cyclists have told him that Route 3 was one of the most dangerous highways in the region for cyclists.

Other councilors, including Philip Sylvestro and Barbara Surwilo, lauded the idea of the roundabout to help limit speeders and truck traffic through the residential areas along Brook Street.

“Because of the truck traffic I think the roundabout would be a good idea,” said  Surwilo.

“I’m in favor of the roundabout,” added Councilor Joseph Kochanek  “It’s a great way of slowing traffic down and keeping trucks out.”

Granatini said the study, which is being overseen by the Capital Region Council of Governments, should be completed by the spring.

There will be another presentation before the council on March 15 before the final report is handed in, he said.

You can view sections of the study here.

The council will host an informational meeting on the traffic study on Feb. 14, at 7 p.m., in Council Chambers in Town Hall.

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