2017-02-15 / Front Page

VTrans presents intersection project

State to revisit elimination of Exit 7 traffic slip
By TORY JONES

SPRINGFIELD — Following a unanimous vote by the Springfield Selectboard to not approve the elimination of a southbound slip lane at Interstate 91 Exit 7, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) will bring the town’s opinion back to its design team for discussion.

VTrans representatives made it clear on Monday, Feb. 13, following a project presentation on the slip change elimination at the intersection with VT Route 5 and VT Route 11, that the selectboard vote is nonbinding and that the project has already gone out to bid, according to Springfield Town Manager Tom Yennerell.

The roadway belongs to the state, he said.

Yennerell said on Tuesday, Feb. 14 that the consensus among selectboard members and citizens at the regular selectboard meeting that it would be best to not modify the slip lane, but to instead install a stop sign where a yield sign is now located.

“They (VTrans) made it clear it was their decision,” Yennerell said.

Representatives with VTrans and Sebago Technics presented the public information session on the Springfield STO 016-2(23) State Intersection Project to inform the public about the intersection project at US Route 5 and VT Route 11, which proposes adding a traffic signal to the intersection, and adding a left turn lane into the Holiday Inn property for increased traffic safety.

The state is also “investigating the possibility” of incorporating safety improvements to the I-91 southbound off-ramp by reconfiguring that slip ramp onto VT Route 11 westbound, according to a public meeting notice from VTrans and Sebago.

The selectboard and residents at the meeting agreed with the new traffic signal, Yennerell said.

Although it was nonbinding, the selectboard voted unanimously to not have modification of the slip lane, but to only have the stop signal installed, he said.

All board members were present except Stephanie Thompson.

The intersection project would be anticipated for construction during summer 2018, and the off-ramp modifications would be constructed in conjunction with a paving project in 2017, according to the meeting notice.

VTrans has said the intersection has a “significant amount of accidents,” according to Yennerell. However, “no one locally shares that perception,” he wrote in an information sheet provided to the selectboard at the meeting.

If there are indeed issues with the slip that make it accident prone, the slip could be improved instead of eliminated, he said.

VTrans representatives said they will take the selectboard and residents’ feedback to its design team, and “go from there,” Yennerell said.

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