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White Plains Road Will Be Widened, but with Neighbors' Help

State Sen. Anthony Musto called a forum recently, including the state Department of Transportation.

White Plains Road needs to be widened near Reservoir Avenue, but the details are up for debate.

Thomas A. Harley. Chief Engineer. Connecticut Department of Transportation, addressed a group gathered at the near the intersection. White Plains Road, also called Route 127, is a state road.

"We really don't need it to get any bigger," Musto said. He also cited a recent accident where a car hit a youth crossing White Plains Road. The youth's leg was broken.

Firetrucks leaving the station also have to tread carefully. And time is vital when responding to a fire, said Trumbull Center Fire Chief Ed Gratrix.

Harley said the traffic volume of White Plains Road is about 20,000 and Reservoir Ave about 8,000. The DOT has been monitoring White Plains Road because "the accident pattern is so high," he said.

He said creating left turn lanes might alleviate the problem.

Harley said while nothing is set in stone, he could not drop the project because of safety concerns for drivers.

One resident urged the room to accept the widening because, he said, traffic will only get worse.

Peter Ingrassia of Valley Road recalled the construction of Route 25.

"I have Route 25 in my backyard and I have to live with it. Before Route 25 was built, it took me 10 minutes to drive from the Merritt Parkway to Daniels Farm Road. At the time people were up in arms about Route 25 coming to Trumbull. Had the state DOT listened to the politics, we would be a mess in this town," Ingrassia said.

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The town also stopped several exits into Trumbull, but changed its mind. However, it was too late and the state declined to build the exits, Ingrassia said.

"Don't you think future traffic is going to increase? Also people with short fuses and short on patience? We the present people need to think of the future for the town of Trumbull and put all politics aside and let the state DOT do their job," Ingrassia said. 

"A Drag Strip"

Meanwhile, White Plains Road has become a "drag strip," one resident said.

Cars headed into Trumbull Center pick up speed as they go and the average speed is more than 50 mph.

They recalled a traffic accident that knocked down a traffic light at Reservoir Avenue and White Plains Road. For several weeks, stop signs directed traffic.

While there were some growing pains, motorists accepted the situation and traffic was calmed, residents said. During that time, firetrucks had few problems getting out, Gratrix noted.

Other residents suggested creating a left turn arrow.

One purpose of the meeting was to find out what Trumbull can do. There was a rumor that the project was a "done deal." Trumbull's Zoning Board of Appeals turned down the state's request to use land for the project, and the state reportedly said it would perform the project anyway.

But that is not accurate, Harley said.

"There has been an ongoing dialogue," Harley said.

"I don't think the DOT is looking at this globally," said First Selectman Tim Herbst.

"The solution is more than just a turning lane. People cannot cross the street in Trumbull Center. You can't go without risking your life," Herbst said.

He cited downtown areas in Darien and Fairfield where traffic is forced to slow down and police carefully monitor traffic.

Harley said he would talk with appropriate town leaders before construction begins.

"It's never a done deal until it's under construction," Harley said. Later, he added, "I want a project that the community can live with."

Paul G. Littlefield July 18, 2012 at 03:47 PM
The overload, if any exists, at the intersection, is not an all day thing. I've been there many times when traffic is scarce. My experience is that the DOT does not usually get hourly counts of traffic, so we only hear of aggragate traffic counts. there have been a few wild suggestions for controlling speed, including concrete lane dividers down WP road. they are the bane of snow plowing and fire trucks, responding to emergencies. why does driver re-education to control speeding have such a low priority? government has used financial inducements to change behaviors on a large scale. when the word gets out that speeders are being ticketedevery day, see how quickly behaviour improves. I recall radar officer activity near Christian Heritage School occaisionally, but not on an agresive basis. People, I believe, fear fines and records against their licence, more than they fear causing injury or death. And by the way, I don't recall seeing what charges, if any, were incured by the driver, who has remained unidentified, who hit the boy crossing WP road in the crosswalk. The bigger problem, than the numbers of cars, is the poor driving skills and habits of the driving public.

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