On September 6, 2023

Rutland city to reduce traffic lanes on Routes 4 and 7

 

Staff report

After years of discussion, Rutland City officials are reducing traffic lanes on Route 4 and Route 7 in 2024.

The Board of Highway Commissioners voted 2-1 on Aug. 28 to reduce the lanes from four to two with a center turn lane. 

Mayor Michael Doenges and Board of Aldermen President Michael Talbott approved the vote while Public Works Commissioner Robert Protivansky voted against the change.

The lanes were reduced for about three weeks as a trial back in 2014 when the state resurfaced Woodstock Avenue, but the concept was tossed out after locals complained.

“Somewhat of a controversy happened,” VTrans Project Manager Brandon Kipp said. “I think there was a lack of public communication about it. VTrans learned a few things because of the things that happened in 2014.”

The state has since reduced traffic lanes in other towns, including Berlin and Williston.

“I think the public messaging was better in those cases,” Kipp said.  

The roads in Rutland are due to be resurfaced again in 2024, bringing the topic back under discussion. Kipp said the proposed redesign in Rutland better organizes traffic and reduces speed. 

“It reduces the conflict points and it’s safer,” Kipp  said. “The existing configuration increases the amount of conflict points.”

The move has been popular among cyclists, who say it will make the roads safer, but some say it will create traffic jams.

Kipp said the state did traffic projections out to 20 years. The average annual daily traffic currently is 15,300 and projected to increase to 16,800 for year 2044 while the traffic on Route 5 is currently 18,200 and projected to be 20,000 in 2044.

“Our data is more geared toward the peak hour. It tells you the worst story,” Kipp said. “The Stratton Road intersection is by far the most heavily impacted.”

Most of the Route 4 reconfiguration will take place between East Street and Hillside Road, while Stratton Road to Gleason Road will stay the same. The Route 7 reconfiguration will start north of Kendall Avenue.  

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