Hazardous intersection set for a makeover

NAUGATUCK — Borough officials are hoping to make a busy intersection safer.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses last week voted to move forward with improvements at the intersection of Rubber Avenue, Hoadley Street and Melbourne Street. The off-set four-way intersection is considered to be fairly dangerous.

“It’s a four-way intersection that doesn’t line up. That’s always a recipe to potentially have a problem,” Naugatuck police spokesman Lt. Bryan Cammarata said in a telephone interview.

Cammarata said the buildings at the edges of Hoadley Street and Melbourne Street don’t allow for good sightlines when traveling through the intersection.

“There has been more than a few accidents where people have raced through the light. If they don’t have clear vision and it’s green on other side, that could be a dangerous situation,” Cammarata said.

The improvements planned for the intersection include new traffic lights, an automated crosswalk system, new sidewalks and some streetscaping.

Public Works Director James Stewart told the board the borough received a state grant from the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Local Accident Reduction Program to help pay for the project.

“They did a cost benefit analysis on the number of accidents that could be stopped with a new signal,” Stewart said.

According to Stewart, the project will cost approximately $618,000. The borough is responsible for 10 percent of the cost, or nearly $62,000. The borough is also responsible for the entire cost of the design work, which Stewart said will be $114,000.

Stewart said the current traffic signal system doesn’t have a traffic induction loop, which signals to the lights when cars are at the intersection. There are also no crosswalk buttons for people to push, he said, and there is poor drainage in the area. The project would fix all of those problems, he said.

“We will be getting new poles and new lights with 12-inch diameter heads, which are apparently safer, so people can see the lights when they are coming down Rubber Avenue,” Stewart said.

The borough had originally budgeted $75,000 for the work as part of a $5 million bond residents approved at a referendum in 2014. The additional $100,000 of the borough’s cost is also expected to be taken from that bond.

Stewart said the project costs more than originally planned because of additional work that is required by the state for receiving the grant.

Deputy Mayor Robert Neth wasn’t pleased with the additional cost, but said if the borough didn’t move forward now, the project would cost more in the long run.

“We go out for bonding and we assumed at the time that the number is $75,000. The additional $100,000 gets me aggravated. But as time goes on there are more things that need to be done,” he said.

Stewart said the borough is currently in the design phase of the project. The work is expected to begin on the intersection in 2017, he said.