Dozen recent crashes has Epping making busy downtown intersection a four-way stopBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
August 15. 2018 10:11AM
EPPING — The state plans to turn the busy intersection of Main Street and Route 27 into a four-way stop to address safety concerns following dozens of crashes.
The upcoming changes were announced in a letter from the Department of Transportation sent to Epping Police Chief Michael Wallace last week that highlighted the results of a study that included crash data and traffic volume.
According to the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles, 71 crashes occurred at or near the intersection from 2007 to 2016. Approximately 19 of those crashes resulted in injuries.
“We agree that the crash history warrants consideration of changes to the intersection traffic control,” Michael Dugas, state highway safety engineer, wrote in the letter.
Police and other local officials have expressed concerns about the intersection for years. Traffic has worsened as many drivers have used Main Street to bypass heavy traffic on Route 125.
Under the current traffic arrangement, vehicles on Main Street are required to stop when they approach the intersection while those traveling on Route 27 pass through without stopping.
The change will mean Route 27 drivers will now have to stop as well.
“Our evaluation of traffic control alternatives revealed that converting the existing minor-road stop control to all-way stop control, under current traffic volumes, would operate efficiently and with modest delays in the morning peak hour for the foreseeable future. Traffic would also operate well in the evening peak hour, although this traffic will begin to see longer delays, particularly in the westbound direction, as traffic continues to grow,” Dugas wrote.
The state also concluded that a four-way stop would be safer for pedestrians and bicyclists as well.
Police Capt. Jason Newman said the police department supports any action the state takes to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians.
“Many in the community have voiced that they would like to have seen traffic lights instead of a four-way stop. It’s our understanding traffic lights were not an option as the area is too tight for turning lanes,” he said.
The state is moving ahead with plans for new signs and markings, but a date for the changes hasn’t been set.
Town Administrator Gregory Dodge, who is also the town’s former police chief, said he hopes the changes will be effective.
“The intersection has needed some improvements for many years and we’ll have to see whether this is the resolution or causes more problems. I’m hopeful it will work,” he said.