Stop and go traffic on the Wilbur Cross Parkway is about to be halted. At least, that’s what the South Central Regional Council of Governments (COG) and Department of Transportation want.
The two organizations think a study should be conducted of several of the interchanges between Milford and Meriden on the 60-year-old parkway. Right now, there are several on-ramps with stop signs, but no acceleration lanes, meaning cars have to start from a dead stop to enter traffic.
"The purpose is to eliminate the stop sign," said Stephen Dudley, transportation planner for the COG.
Dudley says the study will include exits 55 in Milford, 56 in Orange, 60 and 61 in Hamden, 62 and 63 in North Haven, as well as service areas in Orange and North Haven and a DOT maintenance exit in Meriden.
Over the years, the stop and go action on the Wilbur Cross has caused a number of accidents. A draft study by Clough, Harbour & Associates of Albany, N.Y., cites a high number of rear-end accidents at each exit, 297 total, all but six of them rear-enders, on Exit 61's southbound on-ramp from 2005 to 2007. The southbound on-ramp at Exit 63 had 230 accidents in the same period, the study said.
The $350,000 study should be completed in June. Some of the short-term fixes include moving or adding stop signs, clearing sight-blocking trees and adjusting signals.
The more significant changes would be made three to 10 years from now, and would involve realigning ramps and increasing acceleration and deceleration lanes. More long-term changes, at least a decade away, include moving ramps, such as the northbound off-ramp at Exit 61 and the northbound on-ramp at Exit 63.
After the study, it will be up to the DOT to implement the changes, depending on available funds. But first, the public can weigh in on the issue. Three parkway interchange meetings will be held Wednesday, May 20, Orange Town Hall, 617 Orange Center Road.