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Ferrisburgh Route 7 intersection plan to be unveiled

FERRISBURGH — On this coming Tuesday, Agency of Transportation engineers will unveil their preferred choices to manage traffic at the intersection of Route 7 and Old Hollow and Stage roads, a junction they and Ferrisburgh officials and residents agree is dangerous.
The meeting at Ferrisburgh’s town office building will open with VTrans officials presenting their preferred option and then taking questions and feedback. It will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Ferrisburgh Selectboard Chairman Rick Ebel said this week that option is highly likely to include traffic lights and alternatives for pedestrian safety such as sidewalks — and not a roundabout, as also had been discussed at a well-attended Jan. 15 forum at the same location.
All of the 70 residents who spoke at the Jan. 15 meeting opposed a roundabout, and the rest applauded those who spoke. Ebel said the study conducted by VTrans and its consulting firm also showed a “significant difference in cost” between the two options.
“Tuesday night the final decision will be made. Certainly it’s leaning toward the signals,” Ebel said.
Exactly what could go along with the signals to enhance pedestrian safety has yet to be determined, and Ebel said VTrans will present alternatives on Tuesday.
“There’s an array of options,” he said.
Ebel said the selectboard will also formally back an option at the meeting’s conclusion.
“The selectboard is going to make a recommendation which option to select and move forward with,” Ebel said. “Then they (VTrans) take that to the engineers at the state level and decide if it meets all the criteria that they have. And if it does they’ll put it on the calendar.”
At the Jan. 15 meeting VTrans officials said they had studied the intersection in 2009, 2012 and 2017, but had concluded the intersection did not warrant safety upgrades other than the left-turn lanes and other tweaks added in recent years.
Then, they said, VTrans research discovered 21 crashes in the vicinity in the past five years, and that data showed the intersection clearly needed further safety improvements, such as traffic signals or a roundabout.
The VTrans schedule laid out in January called for studying the alternatives in February and March, and then the presentation at the April 16 meeting. According to the engineers, that study intended to look at the traffic volume of 11,000 vehicles a day, the accident data, and the public feedback.
According to officials in January, VTrans plans to make an officials selection later this month and issue a final report in May or June.
VTrans engineer Erin Parizo said in January if all goes smoothly the intersection could get signals “in a couple years,” while a roundabout could take three to five years. Residents at the January meeting asked for quicker action.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent.com.

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