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Left turns from Old Bedford Way onto Route 101 may be prohibited

The Bedford police chief calls the problem of making a left-hand turn off Olde Bedford Way onto Route 101 eastbound a “prescription for disaster.”

The Town Council plans to hold a public hearing to discuss a proposed ordinance amendment prohibiting such turns and invites the public to attend to voice concerns. The hearing takes place Wednesday, July 17, at 7 p.m., in the Bedford Meeting Room, 10 Meetinghouse Road.

The move was recommended by the Highway Safety Committee to ease traffic flow and prevent accidents.

“Rarely a week goes by that we haven’t seen near misses at that intersection,” said Police Chief Jon Bryfonski, chairman of the committee. “Members looked at the dangers at the intersection, especially during commuting hours from 3 to 6 p.m.”

Problems at or near the intersection involve people jockeying for position to make the light at Constitution Drive or drivers squeezing others as they merge from two lanes to one. Some drivers have also reported road rage.

“It’s a prescription for disaster,” he said. “Do we wait until we have a fatality?”

About 25,000 vehicles a day travel along Route 101 East and West, he said.

The Town Council will hear public comment on the amendment and, if approved, the town will place a no left turn sign at the intersection to alert drivers.

“There is an alternative route for people patronizing the Bedford Village Inn. They can take a left at the BVI and then a right to the light at 101,” said Bryfonski. “It’s about a 800- to 1,000-foot detour.”

In September 2010, the Highway Safety Committee looked at prohibiting no left-hand turns at Olde Bedford Way and Bedford Center Road at Route 101. However, members decided to table prohibiting left-hand turns at Bedford Center Road.

“Sight is better there for folks to not make hasty left turns,” he said, adding that preventing left turns at Bedford Center Road would also put a strain on surrounding side roads.

The Highway Safety Committee identifies local traffic safety problems and needs, analyzes problems, proposes solutions and costs, and makes recommendations to the Town Council.

“Bedford is a choke point for east and west traffic, and we are suffering with it like everyone else,” said Bryfonski.

Police and the Highway Safety Committee often receive complaints from residents regarding speeding in town, and how some intersections are designed, such as Palomino and South River Road.

We look for the best course of action and take preventative measures,” he said.

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