Archive for May 18th, 2013

Rumble Stripes on Route 4 This Summer

Woodstock's Emergency Committee met this morning to plan for Hurricane Sandy

Woodstock’s Municipal Manager Phil Swanson, Rep. Alison Clarkson, Chip Kendall, Police Chief Robbie Blish, and Dispatcher Penny Davis at a Woodstock  Emergency Services Meeting, 2011

Woodstock Early Birds, we have just run into Rep. Alison Clarkson who says we will have CENTERLINE RUMBLE STRIPES on Rt. 4 by the end of this summer construction season.

We — that is the Windsor County communities of Woodstock Quechee/Hartford had been “in line” for a Rt. 4 Agency of Transportation fix between Woodstock and Interstate 89 before Tropical Storm Irene hit. Clarkson says that project was “bumped” and is now back up and we  are at the top of the list. This construction project was going to move forward with or without the recent accidents and deaths on the highway.

However, Clarkson says in talking to the Agency of Transportation over the last few days she has found out that the mile cost of putting in center-line RUMBLE STRIPES is not that expensive although the range per mile can vary greatly up to $5000/mile. Still, she says, it seems likely that getting the STRIPES on top of the existing road project shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Notice Early Bird is capitalizing STRIPES. We have been educated — as has Clarkson by the Vermont Agency of Transportation this past week – that STRIPES are centerline fixes and STRIPS are the physical alerts in the road that go along the shoulders. She doesn’t know if STRIPS are also part of the new push to help safety on this road. But, the road improvements do call for shoring up the narrow shoulders. She notes, in her experience, the area near the Fat Hat Factory, Quechee Main Street and Rt. 4 is particularly bad.

While Clarkson agrees a physical fix to Rt. 4 might be helpful, it still doesn’t solve the problem of people not paying attention; it means we have to think more about driving and not yakking it up on the phone or thumb-strumming our Iphones (Androids, Blackberries, etc.) with our heads down. Clarkson says forensic scene investigation of some recent fatal accidents throughout the State of Vermont indicate people were looking down when the crashes happened, “Distracted driving IS a problem.” She added about learning to deal with no phone driving again,  ” We need to find quiet spaces. Driving can be meditative, although we need to pay attention.”

Clarkson did not address Rt. 4 road issues between Woodstock and Killington. The project  she cites as getting underway this summer is for the Woodstock to Interstate-89 section of road and ultimately is still not the ultimate dig down four to five layers or re-designing the entire highway.

The call for action to  provide more safety on Rt. 4 comes particularly from community leaders,  including Woodstock Fire Chief L.D. Sutherland, Jr. and Hartford Fire Chief Steve Locke,  following the deaths of four people in car accidents on Rt. 4 over the last few months, including two within the last two weeks.