The state Department of Transportation (DOT) is planning to install a center two-way left-turn lane on the Boston Post Road in Orange. A virtual hearing regarding the project was scheduled for December 15, after the Town News press time.
“This turn lane is something many residents and motorists are familiar with, as this improvement has been made throughout the Route 1 corridor,” said DOT spokesperson Josh Morgan in an email. “Having the center two-way turn lane improves traffic flow and reduces crashes.”
To accommodate the new turn lane, an additional 14 feet of roadway width needs to be added. The project starts from the Milford town line — just north of Peck Lane — and extends just over a mile north to the vicinity of Lambert Road. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2024 and will take approximately two years to complete, according to Morgan.
Between 2015 and 2019, the DOT has logged 274 crashes through the project corridor, Morgan said. The majority of the crashes were rear-end crashes (134), sideswipe (44) and angle crashes (82).
“The purpose of this meeting is to provide the community an opportunity to learn about the proposed project and allow an open discussion of any views and comments concerning the proposed improvements,” the announcement read. In particular, the DOT is soliciting public feedback on the option to add sidewalks to the project.
“We are currently evaluating utility, right of way, construction costs, and project schedule impacts associated with the inclusion of sidewalks,” he wrote.
The widening of the road also impacts the right-of-way, requiring partial acquisitions and easements to accommodate the installation of the left-turn lane. The project also involves rehabilitation of a bridge, which carries US Route 1 over the Indian River just north of Michaels Jewelers, as well as general drainage improvements.
Morgan said the DOT tries to minimize impacts to businesses. Driveway access will be maintained and coordinated with the businesses during construction. Once completed, access to and from businesses will be improved and traffic congestion will be minimized, he wrote. Similarly, the Orange Fire House will remain operational during construction. The contractor will work with fire officials to maintain access from Route 1.
The estimated construction cost for this project is $15 -20 million, 80% of which is expected to be covered by federal funds and 20% by state funds.
Michelle C. Saldana is the project engineer, and can be reached at Michelle.Saldana@ct.gov or (860) 594-3348.
For people unable to attend the hearing, the meeting will be recorded and posted on YouTube. The public comment period will remain open until January 11, 2023. The project webpage is at https://portal.ct.gov/DOTOrange106-108. A map of the project is available on the webpage.
By Bettina Thiel, Orange Town News Correspondent