By Stephen Seitz
KILLINGTON – Though it wasn’t on the agenda, the Killington Board of Selectmen spent a few minutes at its regular meeting on Sept. 9 discussing what to do about some dangerous road conditions on Killington Road, and the dangers of not replacing missing road signs in a timely manner.
Planning Commission chairman David Rosenblum explained the situation, saying “The planning commission has been working to try to improve the access road, and we really have not gotten any cooperation from the ski area. None whatsoever.”
Rosenblum said that once Killington Road passes Glazebrook Road, it no longer belongs to the town, but the resort. This, he said, creates a perception problem with the public.
“I warned them back on July 30 that it is a dangerous situation, and they wouldn’t acknowledge it,” said Rosenblum. “Now we have the situation, I guess it was on August 30, that there was a serious accident there, where the victim was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock when he hit the dip in the road… I think part of the problem is the perception that it is still a town road. Seth and I worked on a plan earlier in the year to put a sign above Glazebrook saying, ‘End of Town Road,’ so people know that is not a town road.”
Selectman Chris Bianchi said he had spoken with a Killington Resort official about the problem and that they were, in fact, aware of it and had plans to fix it.
Reportedly, Resort President Mike Salamano told Bianchi “that they have plans to do repairs, but, like everybody else, they’re waiting on contractors. They don’t have the equipment to do the repairs that they need,” so they have to wait, he explained.
Rosenblum said he had seen some heavy equipment in action in the area and was frustrated that nothing had been done up to that point. “They said, ‘It’s going to be done shortly,’ on July 30. They started patching and then they got down to the Mountain Inn and that was it. They ignored the danger spot,” he said.
Town Manager Seth Webb said he’d talked with Salimano earlier in the week as well.
“Mike Salamano actually called me on Monday, to find out about how we could work together to leverage Pike (the contractor) to come here sooner,” Webb said. “I did not ask the question that you just asked about doing temporary repairs in-house in the meantime, but I will take that suggestion back tomorrow, with the board’s support.”
Rosenblum said he also had a concern about missing street signs causing confusion.
“There is no sign for West Park,” he said. “I think Anthony Way is missing, and a few others. This is part of public safety. If something happens, and somebody calls for medical assistance, or state police, they get dispatched to an address. If they can’t find the road, it could be serious.”
Besides that, he added, some people just get lost.
“A guy was driving around the road in a suspicious manner, and I asked, ‘Can I help you?’ Turned out he was an inspector from a mortgage company, and he asked, ‘Where’s West Park Road?’” Rosenblum said, adding “Every sign’s got to be maintained.”
Rosenblum said that a citizen volunteer once did an annual inventory of the missing signs, and that he had done it once himself, but that no one seemed to be doing that lately.
Webb said plans were already in place.
“You’re right about the street signs,” he said. “Those signs are missing. The plan was to replace them in October, but it sounds like we might need to speed them up, so I will look into that.”
“I believe there are 2015 federal standards for those signs,” said Rosenblum.
“When we do the wayfinding installation later this fall,” Webb replied, “the signs that border Killington Road are going to be a blue, the same color as the town signs, so that we create a corridor there. We were waiting until then, so we could do that with West Park and Anthony Way, but if we need to put something up in the short term, then we need to do it.”
Webb added that the town of Bridgewater has signs designed according to the 2015 standard.
Chairwoman Patty McGrath said the sign situation should be examined every year.
“It seems to make sense to have an annual inspection and survey on that,” she said. “I know (highway department director Chet Hagenbarth) has done a lot of surveys on the roads and everything else, focusing more on conditions and things like that, but as we move through that would be a good thing to see. Particularly after the winter, which has a tendency to cause quite a bit of damage.”
Webb said thieves have been a problem as well.
“Thundering Brook Road here is always stolen,” he said.
“We should rename it to something nobody wants to steal, Bianchi suggested.
The board took no formal action on the discussion.