The Connecticut DOT has posted their new plan to remove the traffic lights on Route 9 and make changes to Main Street and the North End neighborhoods.
They will present their plan to the public at 7 pm on Thursday, March 22nd at Middletown High, with opportunity for public comment.
Features of the plan include:
-Rapallo Ave becomes the receiver for a new fly-over off-ramp from Route 9 Northbound, one level above the railroad tracks. Rapallo becomes one-way at the Main Street Intersection and on-street parking in that area will be removed. The ramp will occupy three properties on the northeast portion of Rapallo.
-Grand Street is widened to create an additional lane where it intersects with Main.
-Washington Street is widened at the northwest corner of Main Street.
-Main Street receives "bump-outs" to shorten the red-light cycle at each intersection except the west corners of Main & Washington.
-Some Main Street parking is removed in front of Luce's and the Tesoro/Krust/NoRA Cupcake buildings.
-The northern traffic light at Exit 16 on Route 9 - at the intersection of Hartford Avenue - receives the same treatment that was proposed last summer, lifting Route 9 to allow traffic to and from Hartford Avenue without a signal.
The details of their proposal - taken from the DOT website - are below. As always, click on each photo to enlarge it. Or visit their website at www.ct.gov to see the original.
In their own words:
About the Project
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (Department) is currently developing plans to remove two traffic signals on Route 9 as well as plans to improve pedestrian safety and reduce congestion along Main Street in downtown Middletown. A summary of the public involvement efforts as well as a detailed project description is below.
First Public Informational Meeting - July 26, 2016
The Department presented a design to remove the traffic signals on Route 9 by elevating Route 9 southbound in two locations; the intersection of Hartford Avenue and Route 9 as well as the intersection of Washington Street and Route 9.
The meeting was well attended and a two-week comment period yielded two main concerns:
w The effect of the additional traffic on Main Street, despite the operational benefits of the proposed bumpouts
w The view obstruction of the Connecticut River by the southern elevated section of Route 9 southbound
Subsequent to this meeting, the Department met with City of Middletown (City) officials to discuss scope modifications. Several alternatives were developed to address the concerns of the public. After meetings with the City, impacted property owners, and critical stakeholders the Department has scheduled a second public informational meeting.
Second Public Informational Meeting – March 22, 2018
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (Department) will conduct a Public Informational Meeting and Connecticut Environmental Policy Act (CEPA) Scoping Meeting concerning the proposed modifications to Route 9 in the City of Middletown, including the removal of the traffic signals on Route 9 and Intersection improvements along Main Street onThursday, March 22, 2018 (Snow Date: March 23, 2018) at the Middletown High School Auditorium, 200 La Rosa Lane, Middletown, Connecticut. A formal presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m.
The projects are identified as State Project Numbers 0082-0318, 0082-0319, and 0082-0320. This meeting is a follow-up to the Public Informational Meeting held on July 26, 2016.
Project 0082-0318 is proposed to reduce congestion, improve safety, and improve access to downtown Middletown by removing two existing traffic signals on Route 9. Connecticut Route 9 is a north/south running freeway except for a short section of non-freeway in the downtown Middletown area where it overlaps with Route 17. This section of Route 9 stretches for approximately 0.36 miles (from exit 15 to exit 16) and includes two at-grade signalized intersections. These signalized intersections contribute to significant delays and crashes. The most recent three year crash history (January 2015 to December 2017) shows that there were 313 crashes resulting in 91 injuries including 1 fatality within the project limits.
The existing three-way signalized intersection of Route 9 and Hartford Avenue (Exit 16) provides access to and from Hartford Avenue in the northbound and southbound directions. The proposed design will eliminate the left-turning movements from Route 9 northbound onto Hartford Avenue in order to reduce conflict points and remove signalization. An at-grade deceleration lane will be provided for southbound Route 9 traffic in order to maintain access to Hartford Avenue. Access to Route 9 northbound will be maintained by constructing a bridge to convey Route 9 southbound over Hartford Avenue. Route 9 southbound will be accessible from Hartford Avenue with a free-flow acceleration lane.
In order to provide access to downtown Middletown from Route 9 northbound, a bridge will be constructed to convey northbound vehicles over Route 9 southbound as well as the railroad tracks and yard. The off-ramp will intersect Rapallo Avenue at a new signalized intersection. To the west of this intersection Rapallo Avenue will be one way towards Main Street while two-way travel will be maintained to the east.
The existing traffic signal on Route 9 at the intersection of Washington Street extended allows for access to Washington Street from the northbound and southbound directions and from Washington Street to southbound Route 9. The proximity of deKoven Drive to this intersection creates a large footprint with abnormal traffic operations. The proposed design will eliminate the Route 9 northbound and southbound access to Washington Street to reduce conflict points. Access to Route 9 southbound from Washington Street will be maintained with an at-grade acceleration lane. The lane configuration on Washington Street will be modified to provide a dedicated left turn lane onto deKoven Drive as well.
Image of the new fly-over ramp from Route 9 Northbound to Rapallo Ave:
Image of an elevated Route 9 under the Arrigoni Bridge (currently the area of Exit 16):
Image of intersection of Route 9 Southbound and Washington Street (currently the area of Exit 15):
Project 0082-0319 is proposed to enhance pedestrian safety and reduce vehicular congestion by constructing sidewalk bump-outs to shorten pedestrian crossing distances along Main Street. Main Street is a north-south running four lane arterial with on-street parking on both sides of the road. It is the main arterial for downtown Middletown, providing access for pedestrians and vehicles to many restaurants and shops. Due to the on-street parking, current crosswalk distances are between 80 and 96 feet, creating long pedestrian phases which in turn lead to poor vehicular levels of service. This project will construct sidewalk bump-outs to effectively shorten the required crossing distance for pedestrians. A total of 18 bump-outs are proposed that will reduce the pedestrian crossing distances to approximately 55 feet, shortening the pedestrian phase. This will reduce the overall delay experienced at each intersection and improve the level of service. The presence of on street parking reduces the sightlines between a waiting pedestrian and vehicles on Main Street. The bump-outs will relocate the sidewalk ramps even with the end of the parking stalls, improving the visibility for the pedestrian and motorist and increasing safety.
Image of how bump-outs would look at corner of Main & Court:
Project 0082-0320 is proposed to reduce congestion and improve safety at the intersection of St. John’s Square and Main Street with the addition of two turn lanes as well as geometric realignment. Hartford Avenue, which becomes Saint John’s Square at its intersection with Main Street, operates as an on and off ramp for Route 9. It currently intersects Route 9 at a three-way signalized intersection, providing both northbound and southbound access to and from Main Street. The four lane cross section of St. John’s Square intersects Main Street in a curve, creating a large roadway footprint.
The proposed work includes the addition of two turn lanes on St. John’s Square westbound. Widening will occur on the southbound side in order to incorporate the two new lanes as well as a proposed median island. In addition, geometric improvements will be made to the intersection by way of median islands on Main Street that will serve to normalize the alignment. Rapallo Avenue, which currently consists of one lane in each direction and on-street parking on both sides of the street, will be converted into a one-way street in the westbound direction with limited on-street parking. Grand Street will be widened for the addition of an eastbound turn lane. Widening will also occur at the northwest corner of the intersection of Main Street and Washington Street to accommodate a dedicated right-turn lane.
Image of Main & Washington intersection with widened turn radius:
Image of Main Street at Rapallo, Grand and Hartford Ave:
There are right-of-way impacts associated with the proposed improvements. The proposed Route 9 northbound off-ramp will require the acquisition and relocation of three commercial properties. The widening at Main Street and Washington Street as well as the widening on Grand Street will require sliver acquisitions of four properties. Temporary rights may be pursued for the reconstruction of driveways on private property.
Construction of the Main Street bump-outs (0082-0319) is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2019 followed by the construction of St. John’s Square at Main Street (0082-0320) in the summer of 2019 and lastly the removal of the traffic signals (0082-0318) in the summer of 2020. The estimated construction cost for all three projects is $70 million and will be undertaken with 80% Federal funding and 20% State funding.
The Public Informational Meeting is being held to afford a full opportunity for public participation and to allow open discussion of any views and comments the community may have concerning the proposed projects. This meeting will also serve as a CEPA scoping meeting to gather and analyze information from the public and various state agencies to help determine the proper level of environmental review and documentation necessary for the project.
The meeting facility is ADA accessible. Language assistance may be requested by contacting the Department’s Office of Communications at (860) 594-3062 at least five (5) business days prior to the meeting. Persons having a hearing and/or speech disability may dial 711 for Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS). Language assistance is provided at no cost to the public, and efforts will be made to respond to timely requests for assistance.
Plans of the proposed projects will be on display for public review. Department personnel will be available during the meeting to discuss the project. Detailed information is available at the Department’s Office of Engineering, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, Connecticut, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., excluding holidays. Anyone wishing to discuss the project may contact Mr. Erik A Jarboe at (860) 594-3299 or by e-mail at Erik.Jarboe@ct.gov. Plans are also available for review at the Middletown City Hall.