VTrans urges narrowed Route 11 junction Mulling safety, Derry board members dismiss suggestion

By Bruce Frauman
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Londonderry Traffic Committee and Select Board member George Mora said at the Londonderry Select Board meeting on Monday, Sept. 10 that representatives of VTrans have recommended that the width of the junction of Thompsonburg Road at Route 11 be narrowed into a “T” so cars would have to slow down to turn onto Thompsonburg.

Board member George Mora listens as Planning Commission chair Sharon Crossman speaks about the proposed energy chapter of the Town Plan. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

Both Select Board chair Jim Ameden and board member Bob Forbes dismissed the idea. Ameden said that from the fire department’s aspect, the wide entrance has saved a few cars over the years. He added that it would be dangerous in the winter for drivers to stop on Route 11 as they made the turn onto Thompsonburg Road.

Mora said that VTrans will be sending the Traffic Committee its report on Thomsonburg Road with data and recommendations.

Board member George Mora also said that Cynthia and Larry Gubb have been suggesting that the entrance to Middletown Road from Route 11 also be narrowed. Ameden said trucks need a running start to get up the hill in the winter. Forbes asked whether such changes are making the roads more safe or less.

He said that while there had been regular accidents at the intersection of Route 100 and Middletown Road, none has occurred since the state installed the four-way stop. Town Emergency Management director Kevin Beattie said there was an average of two accidents per year.

Ameden said the Select Board will read the energy amendment to the Town Plan and discuss it along with the public at a hearing at the next Board meeting on Monday, Sept. 17.

Planning Commission chair Sharon Crossman brought the amendment to the Select Board after the Planning Commission approved it without changes.

Derry to prep for 2019 statewide emergency exercise

The board voted to participate in a statewide emergency management exercise to take place over two 12-hour days in October 2019.

Emergency Management coordinator Kevin Beattie proposes participating in a preparedness test.

Beattie said this would be a good follow up to the table top exercise that took place last November. Beattie said the planning requires two people from each participating town to attend four planning sessions, starting this October.

The actual exercise scenario will start 36 hours into an emergency event so the Emergency Operations Center will be open coordinating the recovery with as many people as possible in town and on a state wide level. Community Resilience Organization chair Bruce Frauman, who is also reporting this article, said those planning the exercise cannot participate in it, and he will likely help in the planning. Both Mora and Beattie expressed interest in participating in the 2019 exercise.

Paving and shed management are discussed by Roads Foreman Matthew Rawson.

Forbes, Ameden and Roads Foreman Matthew Rawson talked extensively about paving the approaches to the salt and sand shed and the wall to be erected to keep the salt and sand separated.

Forbes said the budget did not allow the approaches to the building to be paved. Rawson would like at least the salt side to be paved to avoid mud holes. At the very least Ameden said Sur-Pak would be be helpful.

According to Forbes, the Washburn Vault Co., a concrete barrier firm, said there are three options for concrete block to divide the shed. Once he has the details and pricing, he said, he will discuss the options with Ameden and Rawson. Forbes said the wall can be changed at the end of winter. Ameden said that since the town is pre-buying the salt and sand, not all of it has to be delivered at once, so they can be spread out over the winter.

In other business

Treasurer Tina Labeau said that the Town Office Building will be closed on Thursday and Friday Sept. 20 and 21 while staff go to a training and the vault will be renovated.

  • The board agreed with the Planning Commission’s recommendation to apply for a municipal planning grant for 2019 to help pay for a consultant to re-write the zoning by-laws. Crossman said the grant amount is $22,000 while the town would pay $2,200.
  • Board member Tom Cavanagh said the old back hoe at the Transfer Station has been put up for bid with an asking price of $12,000. Labeau said bids will be accepted until Sept. 28 and opened on Oct. 1.
  • Rawson said the new employee for the road crew, Josh Dryden Stratton, will start on Sept. 17. Donnie LaFogg will be retiring as of Sept. 14.
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  1. Bill Bourque says:

    With all the crumbling roads and bridges in this state, this is what VTrans is worried about?

  2. T Smith says:

    I live at the corner of Thompsonburg and 11. In the winter, when snow is on the road, I see cars constantly go off the road when coming down the hill and trying to take a left. The issue, as mentioned above is people come into the intersection too fast. Especially coming down the hill. Making the intersection more narrow would force people to slow down. Adding a sign coming into the intersection would also help.

  3. Cynthia Gubb says:

    We live on the corner of Route 11 and Middletown Road. Drivers do not slow down to make the turn, putting residents who are exiting from Edgehill Road onto Route 11 at risk as well as my husband and I as we try to pull out of our driveway or garage. The comment about “trucks need a running start to get up the hill in the winter” is totally ridiculous. It seems as if the safety of residents means nothing to our town. Very disappointing to hear such comments from our town officials.

  4. Kelly Capen says:

    I 100% agree with Jim Amenden and Bob Forbes about narrowing route 11 and Thompsonburg to a T. It would actually create more accidents !!! The problem is people are coming too fast from Magic. It seems to me a “Watch for Turning Vehicles” sign would be a much more productive solution