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Glut of crashes reported in Bedford's Route 101 construction zone

Union Leader Correspondent

May 14. 2018 8:09PM
Several minor accidents have occurred in Bedford along a stretch of Route 101 where construction is taking place to widen the roadway. (Kimberly Houghton/Union Leader Correspondent)

BEDFORD — Several rear-end traffic collisions have been reported since construction work began to widen a busy portion of Route 101 in Bedford.

Police Chief John Bryfonski said law enforcement is aware of the situation and has been discussing its concerns with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

“We are paying close attention,” Bryfonski told the Bedford Town Council last week.

He said the police department is making sure that every incident within the construction zone is being reported and collected independently.

Bryfonski met with representatives from DOT earlier this month, as well as the contractor for the project to discuss increasing the number of reflective delineators in an effort to improve visibility for motorists at night.

“We have had a few collisions now that we have attributed to poor flagger performance,” he said, noting that there are various lane shifts and stops for traffic.

While some of the accidents may have been the result of drivers traveling too closely to the vehicles in front of them, the chief said there are tools that can be used to help slow traffic and simultaneously accommodate the construction.

“We are mindful of the issues with respect to construction zones,” said Bryfonski.

The local police department is also reviewing the amount of traffic spilling over onto adjacent roadways as motorists attempt to avoid the Route 101 construction and subsequent traffic delays.

Police radar trailers are being stationed along Pilgrim Drive, Bedford Center Road, Meetinghouse Road and other routes where traffic has been heavier because of the Route 101 project, according to Bryfonski.

“We are staying on top of that,” he added.

In January, crews began prep work for the widening of a two-mile stretch of Route 101.

The road improvements have been included in the state’s 10-year transportation plan for several years, and the estimated $15 million project is now well underway.

Work includes the widening of Route 101 into five lanes from its intersection with Route 114 to Wallace Road.

Crews will start relocating utilities this summer, which will take a significant amount of preliminary work prior to actual construction.

Victoria Chase, project manager with DOT, said previously that the road widening project is expected to be completed at the end of September 2019.

The project is designed to improve traffic flow and congestion along the busy stretch of Route 101 during peak traffic hours; a previous corridor study determined that Route 101 carries about 36,000 vehicles daily.

“Construction is tough, but it needs to happen. We will not be detouring people,” Chase said earlier. “It will be horrible in the interim, but it will be all worth it in the end.”

DOT is utilizing smart work zone signs that notify travelers of delays, which allows drivers to find their own alternative routes of travel, if necessary.

Once complete, there will be two lanes of travel in both directions along Route 101 from its intersection with Wallace Road to the intersection of Route 114.

The fifth lane will be a center lane of travel that will sometimes consist of left-turn pockets and sometimes include a raised median.

Public Safety Transportation Bedford

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