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PHOTO — An aerial rendering from the state Department of Transportation showing the soon-to-be upgraded Oyster River roundabout at Jones Hill Road and Ocean Avenue in the city’s Baybrook section. (CTDOT)
WEST HAVEN, Aug. 23, 2019 — The state Department of Transportation’s Office of Engineering is developing plans to improve the Oyster River roundabout at routes 162 and 705 in the city’s Baybrook section.
The $325,000 project aims to upgrade the existing roundabout, or traffic circle, at Jones Hill Road and Ocean Avenue to current design standards for accommodating larger trucks, said the project manager, Scott Bushee, a principal engineer with the DOT’s Division of Highway Design.
Bushee explained that during the roundabout’s original design, a midsize tractor-trailer was the standard design vehicle for state arterial roads. But shortly after the roundabout’s construction more than a decade ago, national changes in the trucking industry prompted the DOT to change its regulations and increase the size of the standard design vehicle on state arterial roads because of technical advances in the industry and gradual acceptance of larger trucks by many states, he said.
“The larger trucks with longer trailers need more room to turn, resulting in off-tracking in the center island of the roundabout and damage to the outside curbing where drivers are trying to maximize available room to make their turn,” Bushee said.
According to the DOT, preliminary plans for the upgraded roundabout call for “expanding the truck apron 8.5 feet to the interior, replacing the outer concrete curbing with granite, constructing a hardscape concrete surface with a brick paver appearance within the former planter areas between the outer curb and the sidewalk, and repaving the roundabout.”
“The roundabout has required constant maintenance in recent years and will be upgraded with more durable materials,” said Bushee, adding that no private properties are affected in the plans.
Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, who recently met with state and city officials about the roundabout, thanked state Rep. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, for helping to fast-track the state-funded project.
The DOT anticipates completing the design phase in December and starting the construction phase in summer 2020, which Bushee said should take about six to eight weeks.
No detours are planned during the work, said Bushee, who will give a PowerPoint presentation on the project at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, at City Hall, 355 Main St. The public is invited.
Before the roundabout, the busy intersection was stop-controlled on Jones Hill Road with free flow on Ocean Avenue. Vehicles turning left onto Jones Hill Road caused traffic to back up on Ocean Avenue while waiting for a safe gap in oncoming traffic to execute their turn, according to information provided by the DOT.
“The resulting traffic congestion contributed to rear-end crashes on Ocean Avenue and angle crashes within the intersection,” the DOT said.
To improve safety and relieve traffic congestion, the first modern roundabout built on a state road was constructed there in 2007, reducing the total crash rate by 45% and injury-related crashes by 60%, according to statistics provided by the DOT.
Anyone interested in receiving information about “State Project No. 156-182” can contact Matthew Vail, transportation principal engineer with the DOT’s Bureau of Engineering and Construction, at email@example.com or 860-594-3274.
An aerial rendering from the state Department of Transportation showing the soon-to-be upgraded Oyster River roundabout at Jones Hill Road and Ocean Avenue in the city’s Baybrook section. (CTDOT)