Selectmen Seek Intersection Improvements, Plan Tree Work

CHESTER – Selectman Jack Cannon, on a suggestion by the Highway Safety Committee, will be asking the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) about some relatively low cost amendments to the intersection at Routes 102 and 121. The intersection has long been a trouble spot and is the site of frequent accidents.

For years town officials have been brainstorming ways to make the intersection a bit safer and in 2011, the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission did an assessment of the area. According to that report, from Jan. 1, 2008 until July 1, 2011 there were 24 accidents at that location.
That report prompted a Road Safety Audit by the DOT.

Many of the fixes suggested by the report have a high price tag, and while the area is dangerous, there are more troublesome areas in the state and town leaders don’t expect a serious solution any time soon.

With that in mind, Cannon said that some small improvements may go a long way. On that list were highly reflective stop signs and new LED-style blinking lights in the single yellow and red lights hanging above the roads.

Similarly, DOT’s audit suggested installing flashing light warning signs.
“It would be an immediate impact to increase visibility,” said Cannon. ‘We continue to have accidents there. It’s potentially a very dangerous intersection. I think anything we can do to improve visibility is worth it.”

Cannon said he will ask representation of DOT to meet with the board and discuss the changes.
In other business at the board’s Thursday, Aug. 22 meeting:

The board decided to move forward with a proposal from Bartlett Tree Experts to do work on the trees and grounds in front of Stevens Memorial Hall. The board received a quote for the work in June, but at their most recent meeting, selectman Joe Castricone asked them to move on the project, as nothing had been acted on.

The board unanimously agreed to spend up to $1,400 on the project.
The investigation by Bartlett was the result of plans by the Heritage Commission to cut down the trees to redesign the green to make it a more usable space. The Heritage Commission is working on a voter-approved project to install a granite memorial to the town’s founding and active citizens in front of the hall.

Some concern was raised by the public when they heard of the tree cutting plans, and the selectmen had Bartlett determine whether the trees were dying, as suggested by members of the commission. Bartlett determined that the trees and grounds could use some work, but said they were basically healthy.

In June, when the report came from Bartlett, the board agreed to hold off on any work on the trees until they could meet with the commission. The board agreed to again contact the Heritage Commission about the issue.

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