Norwich City Leaders Trying to Halt Improvements to ‘Crash Alley'

Norwich city council members are trying to stop a major construction project planned for a one-mile stretch of Route 82 that is otherwise known as “crash alley.”

The council members passed a resolution Monday that urges the state Department of Transportation to reconsider putting in six rotaries between the New London Turnpike and the Asylum Street intersections.

This comes after several area business owners have expressed concern that these rotaries could hurt their businesses. 

“We can’t sacrifice our current tax base out here right now and the people that have invested in our city,” City Council President Pro Tempore Peter Nystrom said.

The DOT has been studying this since 2015. The $42-million plan also includes installing a new median to prevent left hand turns.

Rodney Green, the owner of Olde Tymes Restaurant for the past 33 years, said he agrees changes need to be made to Route 82.

“I think the prospect of improving the traffic flow would be good. The prospect of improving the appearance of the road is really sorely needed for our stretch,” Green said.

But Green is concerned the rotaries could force owners to give up part of their property and that construction could take a number of years.

“If they’re talking about something that would actually wind up being a two-year project, which is one of the latest things being floated, I’m out of business,” Green said.

Instead of rotaries, Nystrom recommends the state lower the speed limit and have more police patrols in the area.

Following the passage of the resolution, Kevin Nursick, a spokesman for the DOT, said the state will have to consider tweaking their plans or spend more time educating the public. Nursick said modern rotaries are proven to be effective at keeping traffic flowing as well as drastically reducing the number of crashes.

Green said he would like the state to approve more level parking lot entrances, so drivers don’t have to stop and block traffic just to climb the steep driveways.

The resolution also asked the DOT to provide more information on the proposed project.

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