The long-awaited and much needed construction plans for Route 5 are finally coming to a close, says Associate Vice President of Planning and Facilities Charles “Chip” Jackson.
For several years now, the campus community and local community have been concerned about the safety of this popular road, and have been working on plans for renovation. These plans are now in their final stages.
According to Jackson, the college has worked to develop a specific design for Route 5, and have held several meetings with the local community and the campus community in the last year in order to get feedback.
“Right now we are working with the state highway administration because it has to get done through them,” Jackson said. “There are a lot of permits that we still need to get and so were in the review process with the state highway right now. The goal primarily is to improve safety on Route 5.”
There are a plethora of safety issues with the road, including a lack of sidewalks and streetlights. This makes walking along Route 5 particularly dangerous for pedestrians at night.
Speeding is also an issue, as many drivers do not adhere to the posted 30 mph speed limit. According to Jackson, the average speed of drivers that they measured was approximately 40 mph.
“Clearly we want to slow traffic down as well,” Jackson added. “The project includes designs with sidewalks along the shoulder, better crosswalks, and better crosswalks down by the waterfront as well as by the Campus Center. There are also some adjustments to the road; such as both narrowing the road and [adding] some medians that traffic engineers say will slow vehicles down. “
The plans also include work to be done the bridge across Fishers Creek by North Fields.
“It’s very dangerous because there is no place for pedestrians or bicycles to go so you really have to be careful crossing,” said Jackson. “Were working with the state to develop a special part of this overall project to include a footbridge across Fisher’s Creek just like there is on St. Johns Pond to improve safety in that location. “
The planning and design process for this project has been ongoing for about a year and a half, and as of right now construction is tentatively set to begin summer 2013. The construction is expected to take approximately four or five months and should be completed by the time students return next August.