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Town Council to Give Input on Route 195 Widening Project

The state Department of Transportation has been planning on reconstructing Route 195 in Tolland since 2002.

The town council will be drafting a letter soon to the State Department of Transportation about its plan to widen Route 195 in Tolland, a project that was reactivated this spring, but was initially created back in 2002.

DOT project manager David Harms said that the plan to reconstruct Route 195 got the green light this spring after the state found funding in its Fix It First program.

The project, which would involve reconstruction of the roadway from the Exit 68 eastbound onramp to just beyond the Rhodes Road and Goose Lane intersection, was originally meant to address a back up of cars on I-84, particularly after UConn events.

However, redesigns, financial restraints and new developments, such as the , have delayed the project over the years.

"The scope of the project keeps changing," Harms said.

In its latest design, Route 195 has two lanes traveling both north and south, as well as landscaped center medians, to allow for higher intensity traffic while keeping a small-town feel to the area, Harms explained.

The driveways to Meeting House Commons and the Fire Training Center are slated to be moved farther north, and sidewalks are included to provide walkability.

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The town council was given an update on the project at its last meeting and discussed two possible concerns of the project: the lack of a comprehensive traffic study from downtown Storrs to Exit 68 in Tolland; and the necessity of addressing the problem intersection of Rhodes Road and Goose Lane, which is unusually skewed, but is not realigned in the proposed plan.

The council will hear and potentially approve a letter to the DOT at its next meeting, Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Fire Training Center.

Harms said that while the DOT wants to receive input from the town, any large changes, such as the inclusion of a realignment of the Rhodes Road/Goose Lane intersection, would call for significant redesigns, which would delay the project. Any delay increases the risk of the Route 195 redesign losing the funding to other state projects, he said.

"To improve that intersection, we would either be affecting the bank property or the gas station property. Both impacts would be negative on either of the properties, " he said, classifying it as a "difficult" intersection.

A and a  are the businesses that would be affected.

Harms said Purcell Associates would complete the project, if it moves forward. He estimates the total project cost at $3.8 million, and said it is completely funded by the state.

Harms said that if the project continues to move on schedule, final plans will be submitted in the summer of 2013 with construction beginning in the summer of 2014.

Jim G. September 04, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Anything that cleans up the Goose/Rhodes maze is to the good.
Lemek Farm Greenhouse September 04, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I really could care less if they re-align Rhodes road and Goose lane. The simplest fix for the issue would be to just give each side a separate green light. Problem solved. No more people nearly hitting head on in the intersection.
Lemek Farm Greenhouse September 04, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Is there a link to larger versions of these photos you could post?
Al loomer September 04, 2012 at 05:08 PM
I think we all agree that traffic flow can be improved from the Eastbound I84 exit 68 off ramp, but I wonder the negative impact on the local businesses if add a center median to Merrow Road. Would traffic flow changes negatively impact local business of Meeting House Commons, Tolland Pizza, CITGO et al??? It does seem that our local business owners are left out of these discussions.
Jim G. September 04, 2012 at 05:22 PM
That would be a quick solution, but having two traffic cycles would jam up Merrow Road. That whole block needs to be realigned and made sensible, and the adjacent exits from the two gas stations limited or repositioned. It's like an Italian roundabout, a total free-for-all from too many directions.
Jayme Kunze September 04, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I ended up taking screenshots from this PZC meeting packet. You might be able to zoom in and get a clearer picture with this PDF. http://www.tolland.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/Complete-Packet21.pdf
Ken Davidson September 05, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Excellent link. You can zoom in to see every detail in high quality.
sami khan September 12, 2012 at 10:43 PM
i have ask state office for long time to change the timing 30 sec lite on each way on goose and merrow rd and save a life but they could care less . Rt 95 project is to take the traffic off from 84 and dump the in tolland one block three lane and than three lane in to one lane .And if have congassion on 95 they care less and it,s 2 project deal mean 4 to 5 year project i do not know what we and tolland council have to lose saying no to project..beside town manger steve get side walk and bike lane to and from goose lane to big y

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