For those of you curious about the work being done just outside the Autumn Drive entrance to MLEHA, Board member Peter Trask received details from RIDOT engineers and some site plans:
Concerning Autumn Drive Turn Lanes:
This project has been awarded to a Contractor who has begun preliminary work and expects to complete construction this fall. The work involves widening of Ten Rod Road to provide addition of left turn lanes to Ten Rod Road and upgrading of traffic signals to provide protected left turn phasing.
The left turn phasing was installed as a temporary measure until this widening project was ready. As you know, it is only in 1 direction. The new project will allow left turns to do so in the safety of a left turn lane (in both directions) which will not cause through traffic to negotiate a lane change to get around a left turning vehicle. Also, the left turns will now be allowed only during a left turn phase. In other words, the opposing traffic will stop for the left turns, and the left turns will not be allowed when the opposing traffic is moving. This will eliminate the “double threat”, which is when a left turning vehicle thinks there is a safe gap in traffic only to find that another vehicle is in the outermost lane and hidden by a vehicle turning left in the opposite direction.
These improvements were intended to be included in the traffic signal installation, but the widening was delayed due to permitting. As part of that permitting, the historical cemetery was considered. The plans were sent to the Town for review, but a public hearing was not held. All work is in the State’s Right-of-Way.
I understand your concern for speeding along this stretch of road. I don’t think these improvements will increase speeding on the road, but rather will greatly increase the safety of those turning left at the intersection.
Lindsey M. Sasso
RI Department of Transportation
Concerning the planned rotary (roundabout) for Rt. 102 & 2 (by Oatley’s):
There is currently a roundabout proposed for the intersection of Ten Rod Road (Rt 102) at South County Trail (Rt 2) under question, however it is in the preliminary design stage. The roundabout is to be constructed under our Highway Safety Improvement Program. Intersections throughout the State are chosen for the program based on the number of accidents and the severity of the crashes. These intersections are studied to determine potential improvements that would reduce the accident rate.
The majority of crashes at this intersection are angle crashes with left turning vehicles being struck by opposing through vehicles. These types of accidents tend to be more severe. Roundabouts have been proven to improve safety by reducing the number and severity of crashes. Angle crashes, such as the ones happening at this location, are virtually eliminated. Vehicle speeds through the intersection are also reduced since roundabouts are designed to be traveled at around 20 to 25 mph, also helping to increase safety.
In addition, roundabouts have been proven to have other benefits such as reducing congestion by causing less delay, reducing pollution by having fewer stops and idling vehicles, as well as reducing maintenance costs throughout the life of the intersection.
Please note that roundabouts are nothing like the old rotaries such as the one that used to be at this location. They are much smaller in diameter and designed to be traveled at much lower speeds. A public meeting is planned for October 1 before the North Kingstown Town Council where we will present our plans, and also help residents better understand how roundabouts work, and the safety benefits that they produce. Residents will also be able to share their concerns with us at that time. The project design is at 30% which is the preliminary design stage so is not a “Done Deal” at this point and input is welcomed. The project is being presented at 30% design so that a certain level of detail has been achieved before presenting to the public.
Also, this roundabout is not estimated at $5.5 million to build as stated by the resident. The estimated cost at this time is approximately $1.3 million.