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Increasing Main Street traffic is cause for concern in Goffstown

GOFFSTOWN — Traffic volume and maintaining the character along the Main Street corridor are making plans to improve safety difficult.

“There is no great answer. Either a traffic light or a roundabout causes back-up,” said Carl Quiram, Goffstown public works director. “Traffic constantly goes through that choke point.”

The town’s engineering consulting firm, McFarland Johnson, will present traffic counts, diagrams, projected costs and options at a public alternatives workshop today at 6 p.m. at Goffstown High School. The steering committee will address its concerns and seek residents’ input.

The committee has held several meetings to discuss the possibility of traffic lights, a roundabout and other traffic-calming techniques to improve two intersections at Main Street–High Street, and Elm Street at Pleasant Street.

The consultants said there is too much traffic within the Village and downtown Goffstown for any option that has only one lane in each direction to provide adequate flow, especially during the morning and evening peak hours.

About 20,000 vehicles go through the corridor daily, Quiram said.“The committee said the traffic light option doesn’t fit the character of the area. Imposing traffic control is 24/7 every day. A lot of cars go through there. Once you put a signal there, you are controlling traffic all day every day,” Quiram said.Traffic will never lessen, he said, as Goffstown and surrounding towns continue to grow.

The committee is supporting a no-build option at Union Street, which would modify the existing layout of the intersection. This may include the relocation of the crosswalk away from East Union Street to increase sight distance, and avoid long queues created by a roundabout.

During its July 9 meeting, the committee discussed a one-way loop at the intersection of North Mast Road, Elm Street and Main Street. This would turn Main Street and a portion of North Mast Road into a one-way with two lanes heading westbound.

A return loop would have to be created; suggestions included White Street, Church Street or Depot Street.

“That option could be very damaging to downtown businesses and residential areas,” said Quiram.

A full roundabout in that area would require straightening the intersection and moving the library back slightly from its present location.

“Moving a building that size would be very costly,” Quiram said.

The projected cost of the project is $888,000 for the intersections of Main and Pleasant streets, and for Main, High and Elm streets. The project is being funded by the town and a state Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant. The town will incur 45 percent of the cost, with the grant funding the remaining 55 percent.

The actual cost of the project is subject to which option is selected.

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