2018-05-17 / News

Traffic board to mull faster speeds tonight

The traffic commission will discuss increasing the speed limit on the stretch of North Main Road from Route 138 to Wickford Avenue.

Chairman Tom Tighe has notified homeowners living on that stretch of road about the meeting at 6 tonight at Town Hall. He wanted, however, to make sure the entire town knows about the possible action.

According to Police Chief Ed Mello, the suggestion to increase the speed limit, which is currently 25 mph, surfaced about a year ago from a resident. The town, however, has been in the midst of reconstructing that entire stretch of road. With that work winding down, Mello said the conversation is ready to commence.

Mello said a traffic study shows the average speed on that 2.5-mile stretch is approaching 40 mph. While Tighe, who preceded Mello as police chief, said he has no problem increasing the speed limit to 35 mph, Mello is apprehensive about going that high.

“It needs to be evaluated at a higher limit,” he said, “but 35 might be a bit high; 30 is probably better.”

Unlike the 40-mph section of North Road that traverses the farms and Great Creek, which is owned by the state, the street north of Route 138 is owned by the town. That means permission is not needed from the state traffic commission. The councilors, however, would have to approve a recommendation from Tighe’s board. If that happens, a draft ordinance would then be advertised for a public hearing.

In related news, the town council endorsed a slate of bids at its May 7 meeting to repair that section of North Main Road.

Based on recommendations from Town Engineer Mike Gray, the councilors approved construction of the drainage basins to Cobble Hill Landscape for $39,500, which also includes the planting of 200 shrubs. Also approved was $24,148 to Scituate Precast for pre-cast drainage structures; $55,720 to Scituate Concrete Pipe Corporation for pre-cast concrete piping; and $22,310 for ductile iron piping and $9,454 for drainage covers and grates to Warwick Winwater Works.

These projects will put a hiatus on any increases to the speed limit.

“Nothing would go into effect until after the work is done,” Tighe said.

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