The city plans to add a turning lane on Center Street beside the central firehouse in a bid to relieve traffic congestion at the juncture with North Main Street.
Ray Rogozinski, a city engineer, said the project is slated to go out to bid this spring, with construction to get underway by early summer.
The additional lane should put an end to the increasingly common phenomena of one car that’s seeking to turn left blocking a line of others as it waits for the opportunity to make the turn, officials said.
The problem has existed for years, but the change to the layout of the post office parking lot a couple of years go exacerbated the delays because most of those leaving the post office exit onto Center Street and turn back toward North Main.
Howard Schmelder, a Bristol Development Authority commissioner, said that one car turning left there can create headaches for many others.
It isn’t yet clear how the extra lane will be marked.
It could be that there is a right turn only lane or it may be that one will be for those turning right or going straight.
Rogozinski said that restriping the pavement is a possibility.
“That would help,” Schmelder said.
Rogozinski said the fix won’t resolve every problem, but it should make a difference.
“I can’t say you’ll never be aggravated at that intersection,” Rogozinski said.
Officials said they won’t add a left turn light there – at least for now – because of the cost involved.
New traffic signals carry a hefty price tag, they said, and aren’t added without a major need.
The change in the post office parking lot, which the city pushed for, allows entry from North Main Street but the only exit is onto Foley Street, which runs behind the fire station. Drivers can only turn left or right onto Center Street from there.
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