October 24, 2014

Selectboard agrees to improvement study for busy intersection

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Mountain View, North Williston and Gov. Chittenden roads deemed a priority

March 24, 2011

By Tim Simard
Observer staff

Safety upgrades could occur at the intersection of Mountain View, North Williston, and Gov. Chittenden roads. (Observer photo by Steven Frank)

A study on how Williston might best improve a problematic intersection is due to take place this spring and summer. In a unanimous decision at its March 14 meeting, the Selectboard agreed to a study of possible enhancements at the busy intersection of  Mountain View, North Williston, and Gov. Chittenden roads.

The intersection, which routinely sees backups on Mountain View Road during rush hour, has been listed as a priority to fix within Williston’s capital plan. The capital plan is an improvement proposal the town hopes to implement by 2017.

Recent accidents at the junction prompted the town to investigate potential safety upgrades, Town Manager Rick McGuire explained to the board.

In December, the town solicited proposals for upgrades from regional contractors, but the costs of the project exceeded what Williston originally budgeted, McGuire said.
The study will give the town and regional planners guidance on how to proceed with intersection improvements, McGuire said. As approved by the Selectboard, the Burlington-based RSG Inc., a planning and transportation firm, will conduct the study at a cost of $35,000. Much of the study’s cost will be paid for by the Chittenden County Metropolitan Planning Organization, with Williston funding 20 percent of the project, or about $7,000.

According to the capital plan, a roundabout would be the best way to improve the intersection. McGuire said while it might be labeled a roundabout in the plan, that doesn’t mean that type of upgrade is best for Mountain View, North Williston and Gov. Chittenden roads.

In 2009 and 2010, the town debated installing a roundabout at the U.S. 2, North Williston, and Oak Hill roads intersection in the Village. Voters soundly defeated a resolution to build a roundabout during 2010’s Town Meeting Day. Vehicles must proceed through a four-way stop at that intersection, with blinking red lights warning drivers as they approach from the east and west.

Public Works Director Bruce Hoar said the study could determine that a similar four-way stop is best for the Mountain View, North Williston and Gov. Chittenden roads intersection, among other options.

“It could be all sorts of possibilities, and a roundabout would still be on the table,” Hoar said.

Public comment and open meetings would follow the initial phase of the study before it reaches its conclusion, McGuire said.

Selectboard members appeared in agreement that some sort of change should occur at the intersection. Board member Jeff Fehrs, who drives through the intersection every day, said he experiences the traffic backups frequently.

“I know how it feels going out there in the morning—it feels dangerous,” Fehrs said.

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