Selectmen Approve $33,000 Contract To Make 106-Carter-Canoe Hill Intersection Safer


Scene of a crash at Silvermine Road and Carter Street on May 7, 2016. Photo published with permission from its owner

Town officials this week approved a $33,000 contract with a traffic consultant in order to design a new, safer plan for a harrowing intersection in New Canaan.

The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 during its regular meeting Tuesday to approve the contract with New Haven-based Hardesty & Hanover to create a long-term solution for the intersection of Route 106, Carter Street and Canoe Hill Road.

The solution is expected to “provide us with better sight lines and safe turning lanes,” Public Works Director Tiger Mann told the selectmen during the meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference.

Documents provided in the public packet for the meeting show that motorists traveling toward Route 106 on Carter Street would have an option to turn more squarely to the state road in order to gain a better sight line to enter the traffic flow and get into position to turn left onto Canoe Hill.

“So as you’re coming up to Carter and Canoe, you would turn, have an area of refuge, and then be able to make the [left] turn [onto Canoe Hill],” Mann said. “And if you stand out there and look at it, the majority of the people are trying to do just that. They just don’t have enough room to queue up, say, coming from Carter Street to take a right-hand turn onto 106 and then an immediate left. So we went to Hardesty & Hanover and asked them for a proposal for a complete design through Connecticut DOT coordination and permitting, which is a large aspect of the project itself.”

The firm came back with a preliminary design for the state to review, he said. The physical work of changing the intersection would cost less than $100,000, Mann estimated.

Moynihan advised Mann to find out whether the state would be willing to see some transportation improvement-related grant money directed toward the project, since 106 is a state road.

Williams said, “I don’t know what’s more important than safety. And this is a disastrous intersection. It’s always been a disaster. Thank God we’re finally on top of this. Kathleen, kudos to you for raising this. I completely agree with you that this is an accident waiting to happen. And thank goodness we’re finally on top of it.”

The solution that Mann described has been discussed by town officials for seven years. Corbet had flagged the safety hazard two summers ago following crashes at the intersection and later called for an administrative team that fields requests for traffic-calming to reconvene its public meetings.

Moynihan has pushed back in the past on improving the intersection, describing it as “scary but not actually dangerous” and “not really busy.” During the meeting, he said that police have said in the past that crash data doesn’t support making a change and that he himself has received just one complaint in his soon-to-be-finished tenure as first selectman.

Williams said in response, “Whatever, Kevin. Whatever.”

Corbet noted that the intersection’s dangers have been a discussion topic on New Canaan Moms and that she has been approached about it by a number of constituents. She thanked Tiger and Police Chief John DiFederico for their work on the issue.

I know you guys have been focused on this,” she said. “I’ve really appreciated it. It’s a long time coming and I appreciate it.”

Mann said part of the proposal is to see if it’s possible to install signage directing motorists on Carter Street to cut over to 106 via Clapboard Hill Road instead of merging onto the state road later. Part of the design will involve motor vehicle counts to ensure that Clapboard Hill doesn’t become overly trafficked as a result, he said.

“To be honest with you, the majority of the public that already is traveling in that direction is probably already taking that cut-through,” he said.

Asked for a timeline for the work, Mann said, “Difficult to say, only because the coordination and the permitting but I would say that we would be working through this fall into winter on this design with a thought to come back in the spring.”

6 thoughts on “Selectmen Approve $33,000 Contract To Make 106-Carter-Canoe Hill Intersection Safer

      • This comment from DPW:

        “In our original review of the intersection we asked the traffic engineer to test fit a roundabout (traffic circle) in the intersection to see if it was feasible.

        “Due to the traffic volumes and design speeds of the roadway a larger roundabout was required which was not in keeping with the surrounding area.
        While the required footprint was larger than expected and the proposed alignment caused it to move from the existing roadbed, the Town never considered (nor has ever considered) eminent domain or filling in wetlands. We simply looked for another viable solution.

        “As for a simple 3-way or 4-way stop controlled intersection, Silvermine Road in this area is Rte. 106 (A State-owned and maintained roadway.) And while we had asked multiple times in the past several years to review the intersection for a stop sign controlled or traffic signal controlled configuration, the State repeatedly denied our requests for these options.

        “Therefore, we looked to offset the intersecting roads to provide for a small turning lane to allow queueing of vehicles while waiting to make a turning movement. (Please see attached proposed sketch.)

        “If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us directly at (203) 594-3054.”

  1. People who know how to drive do not have a problem with that intersection. I take it regularly from Carter to Canoe. And I’ve taught all my 3 kids how the sight lines work and now they understand how to better navigate around similar intersections that are all over New England.

  2. A traffic circle would be an abomination totally out of character with the town, and would probably require acquiring property via eminent domain, filling adjacent wetlands, etc. Instead, how about a simple stop sign for vehicles on Silvermine traveling toward town. That would give those turning left onto Canoe Hill or crossing to Canoe Hill from Carter Street a fair chance. Why not try it while cogitating about more grandiose schemes?

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