Herbst says progress made on improving 'dangerous' intersection

Progress is being made to address what some in town call a dangerous intersection on Route 111, according to First Selectman Tim Herbst.

Last week, state Sen. Marilyn Moore and Trumbull’s state Reps. Dave Rutigliano, Ben McGorty and Laura Devlin said they joined town officials in meeting with Department of Transporation Commissioner James Redeker to discuss traffic issues near the Route 25 and Route 11 intersection. This week, Herbst said that a series of meetings with the DOT has focused on improving a specific area on Route 111, in front of the commercial shopping plaza that is home to several businesses, including Chip’s and The Edge Fitness. Herbst believes specific plans to improve this area will be coming this spring or summer.

About a year ago, resident Marty Isaac started an online petition, urging officials to fix the intersection because of safety concerns. The discussion has also included concerns about pedestrians crossing in that area from a nearby trail.

The petition reads, in part: “High levels of traffic on Route 111 make it difficult for cars to safely exit this shopping plaza. In particular, turning left requires one to cross 2-3 lanes of fast moving traffic.”

About 475 people have signed the petition to date. Isaac has since been staying on top of the issue, urging steps forward.

Last June, the state did a traffic study of the area, which supported and recommended a new traffic light near the plaza.

This week, Herbst said he believes recent meetings will result in a positive action plan. In addition to legislators, Herbst said, he was joined in Hartford by Public Works Director John Marsilio, police Chief Michael Lombardo, Lt. Thomas Savarese, Town Engineer Frank Smeriglio, and Economic and Community Development Director Edward Lavernoich.

“Our recommendations are that the entrance to the shopping plaza be re-aligned so as to create a four-way intersection at Route 111 and Old Mine Road that will include a traffic light,” Herbst said. “This will make entry and exit from the commercial shopping plaza much safer. We also believe that this will allow for a realignment and the addition of parking spaces that are sorely needed. Perhaps most importantly, this newly aligned intersection will also improve pedestrian safety for the thousands of residents who use the Pequonnock Trail each week and have to cross Route 111.”

He also thanked Moore for being instrumental in setting up the meetings.

“I want to thank Sen. Moore for her efforts in securing these meetings with Commissioner Redeker and his staff,” he said. “In a short period of time as our new state senator, she has gone to work right away in addressing our concerns, while developing positive solutions to move us forward.”

Herbst also said Redeker was generous with his time, meeting twice with officials. The commissioner arranged a second meeting less than a week after the first, Herbst said. He also thanked Trumbull’s representatives in Hartford.

“I also want to thank all members of our legislative delegation, including Rep. Rutigliano, Rep. Devlin and Rep. McGorty for working in a bipartisan fashion with Sen. Moore to develop a positive plan of action to address this problem,” Herbst said. “All of these legislators are representing ‘Team Trumbull’ very well.”

The state’s traffic study last June looked at traffic volumes as well as accident statistics in the area. Between March 2011 and March 2014, eight rear-end collisions were reported on Route 111 southbound, six collisions involving backing vehicles within the shopping center were reported, three collisions were reported involving left-turning cars at the shopping center and two collisions involving left-turning vehicles at the Woodland Hills condominium intersection were reported.