State supports new traffic light on Route 111

Following a traffic study, the state Department of Transportation supports adding a new traffic signal near the intersections of Route 111 and Route 25, to cut back on accidents and improve safety.

The study was done following urging from both residents, and town and state officials. The study looks at patterns on Route 111, between Old Mine Road and Woodland Hills Condominium driveway — focusing on traffic issues at the shopping center that’s home to Chip’s and Edge Fitness, among other businesses.

“The Department would support signalization of the intersection of Route 111 and the Chips/Edge Fitness site drive,” DOT Manager of Traffic Engineering Charles S. Harlow writes in the report. “If the town of Trumbull concurs that a traffic control signal should be installed, OSTA [Office of State Traffic Administration] will require the property owner of the Chips/Edge Fitness shopping center to install the signal and revise the site driveway geometry to substantially conform with the plans approved by OSTA certificate 1801.”

The report, dated Friday, June 20 was addressed to Police Chief Thomas Kiely. When The Times spoke with Chief Kiely Monday, his office had not yet received a copy of the report.  Trumbull resident Marty Isaac, who started an online petition in March urging the DOT to take action in that area, shared a copy of the state report with petition supporters.

First Selectman Timothy Herbst said Monday that he didn't think the state report goes "far enough." The report recognizes that traffic at Route 111 and 25 already "operates at an undesirable level of service at peak hours," Herbst said.

"Back-up on Route 111 is further compounded by people trying to gain access into the shopping center or the condominiums," Herbst said.

Herbst noted that the shopping center project received traffic approvals at the state level, before a shovel went in the ground. However, there is another potential solution, not mentioned in the report, the first selectman said.

The developer of the shopping plaza has offered to buy a parcel of state-owned property adjacent to the plaza, in order to get more parking and realign an entrance so it could be a four-way intersection, according to Herbst.

"By their own admission they acknowledged a traffic problem already existed at 25 and 111," Herbst said. "We need to take a cerebral approach to correcting the problem."

The study also addresses safety measures for those using the nearby trail.

“Due to the proximity of the nearby walking trail located along the southerly border of the Chips/Edge Fitness property, it is recommended that a sidewalk connection be provided from the Chips/Edge Fitness driveway along the east and west sides of Route 111 to the trail crossing at Old Mine Road coincident with signal installation,” the report said. “This will allow trail users to cross as a signalized location.”

The study looked at traffic volumes as well as accident statistics. 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.

“It is important to note that Chips/Edge Fitness site drive has been operational since early 2013,” the report reads. “The Woodland Hills condominium complex driveway is designed and posted for right-turn in/right turn-out movements only.”

A study of traffic volume also shows that the shopping center is generating significantly more traffic than anticipated.

There are several factors to consider if a traffic signal is installed, according to the state. During evening rush hour, a new traffic signal at the shopping center could lead to greater congestion on Route 111 and Route 25. The driveway of the shopping center will also need to be reconfigured to accommodate a signal.