According to a Capitol Region Council of Governments study, Rocky Hill's "Route 3 corridor" contains only one intersection that is rated "poor or failing", the one at the convergence of Main St. and West St. CRCOG's analysis covers the span of Route 3 from New Britain Ave. to the Cromwell town line, as well as the area between West St., Brook St., and Main St.
The report makes clear, however, that the number of failing intersections in the corridor will multiply in the next 20 years if no structural alterations are made to the roadways. The projection is based on the effects of expected town growth upon existing traffic patterns.
CRCOG's principal transportation engineer Rob Aloise and lead consultant Chris Granatini of the engineering firm Tighe & Bond presented the findings to the Chamber of Commerce Thursday morning at Atria Greenridge Place. The pair shared recommendations that were "categorized by priority level into short-term, mid-term, and long-term projects."
One target for short-term adjustment is the intersection of Cromwell Ave. (Route 3) and France St. The engineers recommend "a widening of France St.", along with changing the timing pattern of the intersection's traffic signal.
Another near-term project that Aloise and Granatini suggest is the construction of a "roundabout" at the intersection of Brook St. and Henkel Way. Granatini explained that CRCOG's review found evidence of "not just speeding on Brook St., but also some racing—detection devices have clocked speeds in excess of 80 mph." A roundabout would both "slow traffic" and "prevent the presence of trucks," which many neighborhood residents have protested.
The study identified two mid-term projects that Rocky Hill should undertake, items that should happen within the next 10 years, according to Granatini. First, the town should "widen the shoulders" at the intersection of West St. and Main St. to "make Main St. bicycle-friendly."
Second, the report proposes "a landscaping project" in the Brook St. neighborhood, in addition to "roadway widening and streetlights." Aloise and Granatini believe that these changes will further help to moderate driving speeds because it will make motorists more cognizant that they are traveling through a residential neighborhood.
Among the long-term projects—those that should be done within 20 years—that the report recommends are the installation of a left-turn lane on Brook St. where it meets Cromwell Ave. and the modification of the intersection at Cromwell Ave. and New Britain Ave. to incorporate a "double-left" on Cromwell Ave., an "extended right-turn-lane" on New Britain Ave., and "the widening of New Britain Ave. to Hayes Rd."
Town Councillor Larrye deBear, who introduced the presentation, emphasized that "nothing in this report is written in stone." Rather, he maintained, it should be viewed as a "planning document that will allow future town councils to take a look at these issues without starting from scratch."
"We want to be proactive about this, not reactive," he concluded.
A public information meeting on the traffic study will be held in the Council Chambers of the Town Hall at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The report will then be presented to the Town Council for formal approval on Monday, December 3. A full copy of the report, including a complete list of its recommended projects and their projected costs, is available on the CRCOG website.