Londonderry Board considers solutions to ‘malfunction junction’

By Christopher Biddle
© 2016 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Matt Mann, a senior planner with the Windham Regional Commission, told the Londonderry Select Board on Monday that according to its Road Safety Audit Review for the intersection of Middletown Road, Main Street and Route 100 in S. Londonderry, seven accidents have occurred there since September 2013.

Londonderry malfunctio junction map

Click map to enlarge.

The intersection has been dubbed “malfunction junction” by one abutting home-owner attended Monday’s meeting.

Mann said that all seven accidents involved vehicles traveling south on Route 100, in most cases a right-angle crash that resulted from confusion about which car had the right of way, according to the review. You can read the review here.

Mann said that the Audit Review team included employees of the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Windham Regional Commission and representatives of the town. The review determined a number of possible countermeasures could mitigate the situation, including road signs, directional indicators on the road itself and the use of anti-icing material in the asphalt. It was also suggested that visibility could be increased by removing flower boxes from the Route 100 bridge over the West River.

from left, Steve Prouty, Will Reed and Wayne Blanchard discuss the Road Safety Audit Review with the Windham Regional Commission's Matt Mann

from left, Steve Prouty, Will Reed and Wayne Blanchard discuss the Road Safety Audit Review with the Windham Regional Commission’s Matt Mann

None of these countermeasures seemed sufficient to Michael Goodbody, who owns the home at 17 Main St. He told The Chester Telegraph in an interview on Tuesday that several of the accidents in the past two years have ended up on his property, including one on Dec. 12, 2015 that damaged his home.

The board and members of the public also discussed having the newly contracted State Police presence watch that intersection to deter speeding. Board Vice chair Steve Prouty, who is also the roads commissioner as well as was acting chair in the absence of  Jim Ameden, said that he has seen state police cruisers watching the intersection. Goodbody said that if the VSP were there, they were “probably sleeping.” 

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South Londonderry resident Darcy Duval reacts to a statement by Mann

Goodbody and his wife, Darcy Duval, pleaded with the board on Monday to consider asking the state to install a four-way stop.

Mann said that since Route 100 is the established through-way in the region, VTrans preferred not to install a four-way stop and that a blinking yellow light could lead to confusion. Mann added, “I think this is a unique situation, a unique layout of an intersection. Because of the layout — essentially all of the access coming at almost a 90-degree angle — some consideration should be given to looking at having that be an four-way stop.”

Londonderry Town administrator Stephanie Thompson said that, following a meeting Mark Pickering, the District Two project manager for VTrans, it’s apparent “the state’s going to want to see that we’ve tried the other measures first,” Thompson said she had not heard back from Pickering as to whether the new sign package was still in the works.

In other board news

The board also discussed plans tofind those people interested in applying for the soon-to-be-vacated seat of member Jim Ameden, who steps down on May 24. No action was taken.

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Filed Under: FeaturedLatest NewsLondonderry

About the Author: Christopher Biddle is a journalist, radio DJ and lifelong Vermonter. He hosts the 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday Rewind show on 102.7 WEQX. In addition to The Chester Telegraph and The Mountain Times he has written for other local publications. His audio work includes stories for VPR and Slate Magazine's podcast network. He collects VHS tapes and knows how to use a chainsaw.

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