- The state will move forward with the design of a roundabout at the intersection of Routes 111 and 110, and construction on the project could begin in the spring of 2016.
The design will turn Hurd Avenue, the road next to the Harmony Grange building that meets Route 110 near the three-way intersection of the two state roads, into a cul-de-sac.
What to do with Hurd Avenue has been one of the questions surrounding the proposal. State officials said the public, neighborhood residents and town officials all appear to favor the option of making Hurd Avenue a dead-end, with a driveway that connects to the grange hall.
“As a three-leg intersection rather than a four-leg intersection, it will be safer,” said Scott Bushee, an engineer and project manager with the state Department of Transportation (DOT).
In addition to making Hurd Avenue the fourth leg to the roundabout, another discarded option was to have Hurd Avenue continue to intersect with Route 110 and then restrict vehicles to right-turn-in and right-turn-out only.
Federal government to entirely fund the project
The project will be overseen by the state and entirely funded with federal money. After completion, the town will be responsible for landscaping, maintenance of new sidewalks at the roundabout, certain signage, and any possible decorative elements such as a flagpole or lighting.
Construction could cost in the $1.8 million range, although that figure is not final due to the lack of a specific design plan.
The design plans are expected to be completed in April 2015. Many of the specifics will be determined during the design process.
“We’re still working on options,” Bushee said. “We have quite a long road ahead of us to design this. We have a lot of work to do with the town on exactly where the cul-de-sac has to go.”
An engineering survey of the intersection will be completed in the next few weeks, allowing the design phase to move forward. “So far, everything we’ve done has been conceptual,” Bushee stressed.
Slivers of land will need to be purchased
The state will need to buy some small pieces of land — or slivers — near the intersection. Most of the impact will be on the grange property. “They’ll be some right-of-way acquisitions,” Bushee said. “We’ll have to do several strip acquisitions.”
Bushee said Monroe town officials have been in communication with Harmony Grange representatives about the general design.
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Another public information session will take place on the project once the preliminary design is completed. State DOT officials already have conducted two public meetings at Monroe Town Hall to get community feedback on the concept.
Many members of the public have voiced support for a roundabout after learning more about the idea. State officials also have regularly communicated and met with town officials on the proposal.
State DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker said the goal is to keep the public informed and involved when such projects are undertaken. While another public informational meeting will take place to go over the draft design, according to a DOT press release, “At this time, it is not anticipated that a formal public hearing will be necessary.”
Creating a safer and more efficient intersection
State officials have said roundabouts limit traffic congestion, lower accident rates, increase efficiency and have a “traffic calming” effect.
Bushee said when roundabouts open there can be “a learning curve” because Connecticut drivers are not used to roundabouts. “For the first months, there are some issues where drivers have to get used to roundabouts,” he said. “But after a few months, we get a positive response.”
Bushee said drivers often will point to improved safety, fewer delays and better aesthetics due to the roundabout.
The state has been constructing more roundabouts, mostly in the eastern and northern parts of the state. This will be the fifth roundabout project for Bushee. The others he has worked on are in West Haven, Ellington, Killingworth and Salem.
For information on the Monroe project, the public can contact Timothy Wilson, DOT highway design manager, at 860-594-3189 or Timothy.Wilson@ct.gov. Make reference to State Project No. 0084-0108.