WINDHAM—Selectmen are asking the DOT to review traffic issues at two intersections along Route 111.
Selectmen Kathleen DiFruscia and Roger Hohenberger raised concerns about safety issues at the intersection of Wall Street and Route 111.
The Wall Street intersection was improved and signalized as art of the Shaw’s project to mitigate traffic impact on 111. An additional lane was put in to process traffic delayed by the light.
DiFruscia and Hohenberger suggested that the second westbound lane should be made into a “right turn only” lane, but Bill Lambert, the DOT’s state traffic engineer, said no new data was available to invalidate the studies done for the Shaw’s project.
“We think the through right is the right solution there,” Lambert said.
The road returns a to single lane further down and some right-lane drivers speed up to cut into the left lane before the merge, DiFruscia said.
“I just think it creates a dangerous situation there,” DiFruscia said.
Roger Hohenberger agreed that drivers jockey for position at the signal and said that having an extra lane for a short period aggravates some drivers and promotes road rage.
“You have to live here to know that the right lane does not service Shaw’s,” Hohenberger said. “It services the guy trying to beat out traffic.”
Police Chief Gerald Lewis and Fire Chief Tom McPherson said no data exists pointing to a safety hazard at the intersection. The extra lane is needed to prevent traffic backup to I-93, Lewis said.
McPherson said the situation isn’t ideal but it may be the best option for now.
“I would agree with the DOT,” McPherson said. “If we have a choice I’d rather leave it the way it is for now.”
Former selectman Dennis Senibaldi said the issue has been around since he was on the board. It would be a mistake to make the lane a right turn only, he said.
“It’s a matter of people learning to be a little more courteous,” Senibaldi said.
Hohenberger also took the opportunity to ask what the DOT could do about the long wait at the North Lowell Road signal. He has received complaints about long delays for a green light when turning onto Route 111 from North Lowell Road.
Lambert said cars might extend beyond the loop detector causing the light to stay until another car pulls up behind it. The state will look into the bar location, he said.
State Rep. Charles McMahon said selectmen should push for a definitive completion date for the Route 111 project now that funding issues have been resolved. Calling Windham the “crossroads of Southern New Hampshire,” McMahon said the project has a singular impact on the town.
“We now have something we never had in Windham,” McMahon said. “We now have multiple traffic backups.”
Chairman Bruce Breton said a meeting would be scheduled with DOT Commissioner Christopher Clement and Sen. Jim Rausch.
- - - - - - - -
Julie Hanson may be reached at Jhanson@newstote.com.