To The Daily Sun,
Based on the presentation made at last month's Meredith Selectboard workshop it seems the state Department of Transportation came to Meredith with a proposal for a highway project which would increase the throughput capacity of the intersection of Routes 3 & 25. The state's proposal was for a single, two-lane roundabout to replace the existing traffic lights. The DOT made the selectboard aware of the availability of funds to carry out the project.
The selectboard formed an advisory committee to investigate the opportunity. We are grateful to the advisory committee for volunteering their time and efforts. The advisory committee reviewed the state's proposal and did not like it. The advisory committee came up with a counter-proposal of three single-lane roundabouts.
The counter-proposal was presented at a December selectboard workshop by a member of the town's advisory committee and a representative of the engineering firm McFarland Johnson. Some of the unanswered issues raised at the workshop are:
— What amount of traffic is the current road configuration designed to accommodate?
— What amount of traffic will be accommodated by the proposed three single-lane roundabouts project?
— If the town accepts the project does that remove the 3/25 intersection from the DOT needs priority list?
— If the adopted project improves but does not solve the congestion issue how many years will it be before the 3/25 intersection gets back on the DOT needs list?
— Is tearing up the downtown in all or parts of the 2017 and 2018 construction seasons without solving the congestion issue worth the aggravation?
— Why is a roundabout proposal better than the already-studied alternatives, such as bypass?
— Will rework of the existing utilities under the road right of way be required?
— If so, will it add cost to the project now or in the future, and who will have to pay?
— If the project is largely a beautification project (meaning it does not solve the congestion issue), is there a reasonable expectation that road salt and sand won't kill off the greenery in the dividers each year?
— Who will bear the cost if that turns out to be the case?
— Who is responsible for the normal maintenance of the dividers, water, mowing, trimming... etc. and the costs associated?
— What will making the downtown area a divided highway do to the foot traffic from lake-based activities we promote, such as the pond hockey and fishing derbies?
— Why are roundabouts being considered for Meredith?
— When pedestrians cross the roundabout or the legs leading out of the roundabout at Routes 3 and 25 and cars stop for them as required by law, how will that affect the traffic in the roundabout?
— Can you show me the grant documents from the federal government that would fund the roundabouts?
— Before you vote to approve the roundabouts, are you willing to go on record that you have you read and understand all of the documents that would be part of a federal grant to pay for the roundabouts?
At the workshop the presenters deferred questions which they were unprepared to answer. Both the advisory committee and McFarland Johnson suggested that answers could be found at the DOT website http://www.meredith3-25.com/. You are urged to go there and review the information available. No engineering, no quantifiable data on demographics, no traffic studies and no growth projections are found there.