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.