Re­lief is com­ing ... but not yet

Fixes to clogged Arch Street cor­ri­dor at least a year away

Greenwich Time - - FRONT PAGE - By Robert Marchant

GREEN­WICH — Frus­trated mo­torists who have long put up with de­lays at Exit 3 off In­ter­state 95 into cen­tral Green­wich will have to be even more pa­tient.

An agree­ment be­tween the state Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and the town to carry out a $2.75 mil­lion up­grade to the traf­fic lights in cen­tral Green­wich was re­cently com­pleted. But the project is still at least a year away from be­com­ing re­al­ity.

“The town has been on hold await­ing agree­ments from CT DOT ... The project process will now re­sume,” said town Deputy Com­mis­sioner of Pub­lic Works James Michel. “The hope is to be com­pleted with the de­sign process within next six to 12 months and con­struc­tion to fol­low.”

Michel es­ti­mated that the con­struc­tion work would take six months.

The up­grades — to shorten the long line of cars stacked up at Exit 3 south­bound at rush hour, and im­prove traf­fic flow along Arch Street and Rail­road Av­enue — were set to be com­pleted in early 2018, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous es­ti­mates. But the project was de­layed by a move on the part of the state DOT to ar­range “mas­ter agree­ments” from Green­wich, and other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across the state, to stream­line joint town/state projects. Those dis­cus­sions took a long time to fi­nal­ize.

“The le­gal depart­ment at Town Hall, and the state DOT, have been go­ing back and for­ward for months,” said state Rep. Michael Bocchino, R-151, who worked to ex­pe­dite the process with state Sen. L. Scott Frantz, R-36.

In­surance is­sues needed to be worked out be­fore the

“The town has been on hold await­ing agree­ments from CT DOT.” Deputy Com­mis­sioner of Pub­lic Works James Michel

state could com­mit the nec­es­sary fund­ing for the Exit 3 project. The state has been look­ing for mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to take on more re­spon­si­bil­ity for in­surance on joint projects, re­quir­ing a le­gal re­view in Green­wich.

Traf­fic head­ing into cen­tral Green­wich has been build­ing over the past five years, ac­cord­ing to traf­fic ex­perts, as more of­fices and busi­nesses be­gan to re­bound af­ter a re­ces­sion­ary pe­riod.

En­gi­neers have ob­served morn­ing back­ups on the south­bound high­way to Exit 3 stretch­ing as long as a mile on some oc­ca­sions. Mi­nor ac­ci­dents at Exit 3 more than tripled from 2014 to 2015, ac­cord­ing to a re­view by State Po­lice.

The new “adap­tive” tech­nol­ogy in store is the lat­est in traf­fic man­age­ment. The lights are fit­ted with sen­sors and spe­cial­ized cam­eras, and they can de­ter­mine how many ve­hi­cles are in line on one street, gather in­put from other in­ter­sec­tions and then in­stan­ta­neously work out the op­ti­mal flow of green lights to keep traf­fic mov­ing. Traf­fic en­gi­neers have said the adap­tive traf­fic lights would make a “sig­nif­i­cant” im­prove­ment, though traf­fic tieups will still be in­evitable.

Cindy Aguirre, who was re­lax­ing with an ice cof­fee on Rail­road Av­enue af­ter fin­ish­ing a shift at a Green­wich Av­enue restau­rant on a re­cent af­ter­noon, said traf­fic con­di­tions couldn’t get worse, from her per­spec­tive. It can take her more than five min­utes to even get out of a nearby park­ing lot for her drive home to south­ern Westch­ester County, she said.

“Traf­fic is so bad here,” she ob­served. “It can take a long time to get in and out, and there’s traf­fic com­ing from ev­ery di­rec­tion.” She has a par­tic­u­lar dis­like of the light at Arch Street and Rail­road Av­enue, where green changes to red in what seems like an in­stant, she said.

While the cur­rent traf­fic sys­tem off Exit 3 from I-95 into cen­tral Green­wich has some “smart” fea­tures, the adap­tive tech­nol­ogy is far more ad­vanced. The new lights will be in­stalled at seven in­ter­sec­tions on Arch Street and ad­join­ing cor­ners in cen­tral Green­wich. The work will en­tail tear­ing up pave­ment and in­stalling a complicated ar­ray of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and soft­ware equip­ment.

Tyler Size­more / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Traf­fic backs up from the In­ter­state 95 Exit 3 south­bound ramp dur­ing the morn­ing rush hour on Wed­nes­day.

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