WALLINGFORD — A public informational meeting will be held next week regarding safety improvements to the Route 15 northbound exit 65 on-ramp that have been proposed by the state Department of Transportation.
“It’s the typical state process,” Town Engineer John Thompson said of the informational meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 3 in room 315 of Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. “It’s part of their protocol for advancing any project.”
The purpose of the construction project is to enhance safety and reduce congestion at the interchange, said Susan Libatiquie, DOT project manager. Plans call for a more conventional on-ramp aligned parallel to and between Route 15 and Community Lake Park.
The current ramp is short, and drivers must wait at a stop sign to enter the parkway and then rapidly accelerate to reach proper speeds. The new design allows for a longer ramp that will give drivers more time to accelerate, said Thompson.
During the meeting, plans for the project will be on display for public review. State personnel will be on hand to discuss the project, which is anticipated to begin construction in spring 2016, according to a DOT press release. An open forum for individual discussions will be held at 6:30 p.m., and a formal presentation will begin at 7 p.m.
Libatiquie estimated that the project will cost approximately $4.3 million, and that 90 percent of the funding would be federal, 10 percent state.
Discussions about replacing the entrance ramp began at least six years ago because of a high accident rate on the ramp, said Thompson. There are about 80 accidents annually on and around the entrance ramp. Besides creating a conventional on-ramp, construction will consist of widening the westbound approach of Route 150 to provide an exclusive right-turn lane onto the new on-ramp. A stretch of sidewalk along the bridge spanning Route 15 will be removed to allow for Route 150 to be widened for the installation of an eastbound left-turn lane onto the ramp.
Plans call for the intersection of Route 150 and the new on-ramp to have a signal. The stoplight will be synchronized with the existing light at the intersection of River Road. Sidewalks will be extended along the north side of Route 150 from the Community Lake Park driveway to the Route 15 overpass.
The western side of River Road will be widened to accommodate the extension of the existing northbound left-turn lane. The exit 65 off ramp will remain at its current location.