After Pinkerton student’s death, change to road urged
By HUNTER McGEE Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY — A resident has asked that center line striping be added to Gulf Road after a Pinkerton Academy student died from injuries following a New Year’s Eve crash.
Robert Laplante went before the Highway Safety Committee earlier this month to request the change in the wake of the death of junior Kyle Ross, 17.
Ross was driving the car that went out of control and slammed into a tree at a high rate of speed at Gulf Road and Hampshire Drive, according to police. Passenger Johanna Morse, 16, of Derry is recovering from severe injuries she suffered in the crash. A third Pinkerton student, Thompson Upham-Davis, 16, of Chester suffered injuries that were not life threatening, according to police.
Laplante appeared before the committee members during their Jan. 16 meeting. He said he was concerned about the crash and asked that yellow striping be added to Gulf Road.
Operations Director Alan Cote said Thursday that about 15 years ago the town council had considered a program to stripe collector roads. But no action was taken after the council was met with political pressure to leave the roads as is and not stripe them, according to officials.
Cote said some residents like having the added striping because it makes it easier to see at night, while others prefer the “country road” effect of not having any center line or lines on the side, called “fog lines.”
“There’s different viewpoints, from different people,” Cote said. “Some people like the striping on the road because it makes it much easier to see at night. A lot of people I think just like the country character of not having fog lines.”
During the meeting, the safety committee decided to address not only Gulf Road but a list of collector roads in town. A collector road is one that connects to a major arterial road, such as Route 28 or Route 102.
The committee voted, 8-0, to recommend a list of 19 roads, including Gulf Road, for striping. The committee can only make recommendations, and the proposal will need approval by the Town Council,Cote said.
If it is approved, the project could go out to bid at the end of June or early July. The project would cost about $30,000 and take about three days to complete, Cote said.