MEREDITH — After again discussing what can be done to ease congestion along the Route 3/Route 25 corridor with the Board of Selectmen last night, officials of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed to return with a proposal for coordinated signalization to improve the flow of both traffic and pedestrians.
Gene McMarthy of McFarland Johnson engineering company, the project manager, said that the equipment that controls the signal at the 3/25 intersection can manage whatever coordinated system of signals is proposed. In particular, he explained it could handle vehicles passing through the intersection along with a signal controlling pedestrians crossing Rte. 3 and do so continuously in real time as the volume of traffic and number of pedestrians traffic changed. This system, called "adaptive control", is slated to be installed for the first time in New Hampshire in Lebanon later this summer.
"The issue is capacity", McCarthy emphasized, explaining that without increasing the width of the roadway to accommodate the volume of traffic "not much can be done." However, he agreed that adaptive control of the signal at the intersection and another at a pedestrian crosswalk between Lake Street and Dover Street could offer some improvement.
In light of the antipathy of residents to roundabouts along the corridor, Jonathan James asked, with some trepidation, if any consideration has been given to constructing a roundabout at the junction of Rte. 25 and Pleasant Street. McCarthy cautioned against what he called "mixing and matching", or controlling one intersection with a roundabout and a nearby intersection with a signal. "They do not work well together," he said. "The signal stops the traffic, which then backs up into the roundabout."
Initially DOT had allocated approximately $6 million to address congestion through corridor. However, after the town soundly rejected a proposal to construct three single-lane roundabouts at Lake Street, the 3/25 intersection and Pleasant Street, the funds were assigned to other projects, leaving $1.75 million for Meredith.
Don Lyford, project manager for DOT, estimated that since much of the technology is already in place, enhanced signalization would cost approximately $250,000. McCarthy said that a proposal would be prepared and presented to the Selectboard later this summer.
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