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The Police Commission, in its role as the local traffic authority, is asking the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to reduce the posted speed limits along two sections of state roadway in town.
The commission is seeking to have the state reduce the posted speed from 45 to 40 miles per hour on the section of Mt Pleasant Road lying between the Bethel town line and the western intersection of Mt Pleasant Road and Blackman Road, a distance of just over two miles.
The section of Mt Pleasant Road lying between the Bethel town line and Hawleyville Road also is known as US Route 6. The section of Mt Pleasant Road lying between Hawleyville Road and Blackman Road is both US Route 6 and State Route 25.
Also, the commission is seeking a speed reduction of the posted limit from 45 to 40 miles per hour for the section of South Main Street lying between South Main Street’s southern intersection with Pecks Lane and the South Main Street bridge that crosses the Pootatuck River, a distance of nearly one-half mile.
Police officer Jason Flynn, a police traffic unit member, prepared a report at the state’s request, listing the vehicular accidents that have occurred on those road sections during the past three calendar years.
According to Officer Flynn’s report, during the three-year period from 2015 through 2017, there were 34 accidents on the relevant Mt Pleasant Road section. During the three-year period, there were 30 accidents on the relevant South Main Street road section.
The section of South Main Street in Botsford where the Police Commission is seeking a reduced speed limit is a wide roadway with broad road shoulders and few intersecting driveways, making for physical conditions where speeding often occurs. Also, speeding often occurs on the two-lane-wide eastbound side of Mt Pleasant Road, east of its intersection with Hawleyville Road.
Reducing the posted speed limits from 45 to 40 miles per hour would make the speed limits along state roadways more consistent locally and also serve to reduce the number of accidents that occur, according to police.
The section of Mt Pleasant Road lying between the Bethel town line and Hawleyville Road has undergone substantial development since 2000, with more development underway and anticipated for that area. The town recently completed an expansion of the Hawleyville sanitary sewer district. The presence of sanitary sewers often stimulates commercial growth and consequent increased traffic flow in an area.
Police Commission Chairman Joel Faxon said February 13, “We requested that the state impose a uniform [40 mph] speed limit in the 45 mph speed areas of Route 25 due to what appears to be higher traffic volumes and congestion.
“If the lower limit has the effect of redirecting large-truck traffic south of the center of town, that would be a positive side effect of what we believe is a safer, lowered travel speed,” he said.
In the past, Police Commission members have said that reducing speed limits from 45 miles per hour on state roads in Hawleyville may have the result of Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation units in vehicles not recommending that drivers use of those Hawleyville state roads (US Route 6 and State Route 25) as an alternate route to a congested Interstate 84. With less traffic on those Hawleyville state roads, there would be less southbound traffic traveling on Main Street and through Main Street’s problematic flagpole intersection.