Roundabout “lead candidate” for Jaffrey’s downtown five-way intersection

  • A five-exit roundabout and a bridge connecting River Street and Blake Street are currently the lead candidates for alterations to Jaffrey's five-way downtown intersection. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 5:40PM

A five-leg roundabout has become the “lead candidate” for a traffic control improvements project at Jaffrey’s five-way downtown intersection, according to the project’s engineer.

The roundabout, along with a bridge crossing the Contoocook River to connect Blake Street to River Street, will be proposed during a meeting sometime this summer for public feedback, according to Marty Kennedy, a senior principal at VHB, in an interview Wednesday morning. 

“There is no final decision at this time,” said Kennedy. “… we are looking for a general consensus [for the project.]”

One more public hearing will be held in addition to the summer public meeting, according to Kennedy. The hearing – which Kennedy hopes will be held before the end of the year – will help the state’s Department of Transportation decide whether to push forward with the proposed project.

The town of Jaffrey was awarded $8.8 million in federal funding for the downtown reconfiguration project, with the project being placed on the Department of Transportation’s ten-year plan in February of 2017. 

The town had been looking for funding for project since at least 2006, as the five-way intersection of Routes 202 and 124, Stratton Road, and Blake Street has led to traffic congestion and safety-related deficiencies in the downtown area. 

A number of alternatives were considered for the five-way intersection, according to Kennedy, including a four-leg roundabout – disconnecting Stratton Road from the intersection – or reconfiguring the traffic lights. 

There were also other alternatives for the bridge crossing the Contoocook River, but Kennedy said the option closest to Main Street had the least cost and impact. Town Manager Jon Frederick said the crossing will occur in the area of the Blake Street parking lot and Reds.

The bridge will allow for traffic traveling on Route 202 to bypass the nearby four-way intersection of Routes 124, 202, and 137. Kennedy said the current plan calls to eliminate the traffic lights at that intersection in favor of stop signs, due to the decrease in traffic. 

Sidewalk improvements

The town of Jaffrey will hold a public meeting on June 7 in the selectmen’s meeting room at 6 p.m. to discuss pedestrian improvements outside the area of the five-way intersection project.

Jaffrey’s Director of Planning and Economic Development Jo Anne Carr said Wednesday that the project involves sidewalk improvements on Stratton Road and Peterborough Street up to Hillcrest Road. Improvements to the Rail Trail may also be made under the scope of the project. 

Carr said the meeting is a precursor to the town applying for a state Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant for the project. The application process will begin in the fall, with grants awarded in January. 

The project is estimated to cost $600,000 to 800,000, according to Carr. If the grant is awarded, 80-percent of the project will be paid for through the program. The other 20-percent will likely be made up through the town’s Downtown TIF district and a warrant article. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.