Prodded by City Hall, state transportation experts have come up with a preliminary $7 million plan to widen a congested stretch of Farmington Avenue.
“That’s an area of town that definitely, definitely needs to be addressed,” said Mayor Art Ward.
Ward said that the congestion on the eastern end of Farmington Avenue poses “a great impediment” to the flow of traffic in town.
To provide for two eastbound lanes between Boardman Street and the Farmington town line would cost about $5 million and another $1.6 million to repave it, according to an October 2007 letter from John Carey, manager of traffic engineering for the state Department of Transportation.
The growing traffic tie-ups in the area are caused by the rapid development along Farmington Avenue, including Wal-Mart, Home Depot, L.A. Fitness and expansions to older shopping plazas.
In a February 2007 letter to the city, Carey said that Bristol “continues to encourage large and small scale development along the Route 6 corridor without a plan to address” right of way limitations and traffic congestion.
Ward said that an extra lane could be added without taking any of the buildings lining the roadway.
He said that a city street could be constructed behind the houses that stretch along the south side of Farmington Avenue between Stafford Avenue and Britton Road in order to give those residents easy access to their homes.
Ward said that he’s pushing for U.S. Rep. John Larson, the East Hartford Democrat whose 1st District includes Bristol, and state lawmakers to secure the necessary funding.
Police Lt. Kevin Morrell, who heads the traffic division, wrote in a recent memo to the mayor that there is “a great deal of interest” among the politicians in pushing the project along.
The next step is to find the funding for the transportation department to prepare a detailed blueprint for the project, according to Morrell.
State officials said that getting the money is “the main issue at this point,” Morrell said.
The Route 6 Business Association favors the project, Morrell said.
Morrell said that after watching traffic in the area, he sees an “obvious need” for an extra eastbound lane.
Click here for a PDF of memos and correspondence about this project.
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