Wilton selectmen initiate Lake Road project

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WILTON – Selectmen unanimously approved the initiation of the Lake Road reconstruction project at their Tuesday evening meeting, as well as repaving part of the Old Jay Hill Road. The project along Wilson Lake will seek to repair damage to the road, as well as slow drivers down.

It is assumed that paving the section of the road going from the stop sign near Bass Park to the Walker Hill Road, a project estimated to cost a little less than $150,000, will make people go faster. This worries residents on the road, some of whom have asked for a walkway, speed bumps or lower speed limits.

Town Manager Peter Nielsen’s recommendation was to pave the existing Lake Road, and forgo both speed bumps as well as a proposal to make the street one-way. Instead, his suggestions for controlling Lake Road drivers’ excessive speed correlated with those given by MDOT Director Peter Coughlin, of the Local Roads Center, at the last selectmen meeting.

Coughlin had proposed narrowing the road with painted stripes. Traffic specialists have discovered that when drivers feel more confined, they slow down. A double yellow line will be added to the center of the Lake Road, with white stripes lining the sides.

Extra signage, consisting of new, larger speed limit signs and four “pedestrian signs,” will help reinforce the message. The Wilton Police Department has also acquired a new, more portable, radar device and have been stepping up speed limit enforcement on Lake Road. An officer working the new bicycle patrol around the lake will assist with this.

If necessary, the selectmen may revisit the speed issue. Temporary speed bumps could be installed, but Nielsen said he was hopeful it wouldn’t be necessary. The rubber bumps, which can be bolted into the ground in the appropriate seasons, are expensive and not recommended by the MDOT.

“I am hopeful that the other things I have mentioned would make [the speed bumps] unnecessary,” Nielsen said.

The one-way proposal, supported by some Lake Road residents but rejected by others, will be shelved, for now. Nielsen will pursue the adoption of a “no through trucks” ordinance for the Lake Road. Commercial vehicles seeking to avoid a Route 2 and 4 weighing station will no longer be able to utilize the Lake Road, if the ordinance is eventually adopted. Deliveries to residents on the road will be unaffected.

The entire project is expected to cost around $148,000 to complete, using up the majority of the $196,000 allotted for road reconstruction by Wilton residents at the last town meeting. Another $37,000 will be used to put two inches of hot top on top of the Old Jay Hill Road. Nielsen recommended this due to the town of Jay undertaking a similar project this summer.

The Lake Road project will also involve the use of rip-wrap to control the erosion of the lake shore. That effort will likely be underway shortly.

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