State To Install Centerline ‘Rumble Strips’ on Upper Route 123


Town officials last week approved a request from the state to install “rumble strips” along the northernmost 2.4-mile stretch of Route 123 in New Canaan.

The Police Commission voted 3-0 in favor of the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s traffic safety measure at the appointed body’s May 18 meeting.

Four-car accident at Route 123 and Country Club Road on Sunday, May 26, 2019. Photo published with owner’s permission

The DOT recently finished a two-year study of rumble strips and “they found that 57% reduction in sideswipe crashes and off-the-road crashes,” according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann.

“The criteria is a roadway that has 2,000 or more vehicles per day, speed limit of 35 mph or more, residential density very low, within 100 get of the roadway and the travel lane has to be at least 14 feet wide from centerline to edge of road,” Mann said at the Commission’s meeting, held at the New Canaan Police Department and via videoconference.

“So they’re coming in to pave 123 this year, and it’s a perfect time to put in centerline rumble strips if we so choose,” he added. 

A look at the damaged passenger-side rear-end of the Tesla that was struck May 14, 2019 as its driver tried to cross Route 123 eastbound on Michigan Road in front of a pool service vehicles. Credit: Michael Dinan

“We can either say yes or no, we just have to give them an answer,” Mann said.

Commission Chair Paul Foley, Secretary Jim McLaughlin and member Shekaiba Bennett voted 3-0 in favor of the measure.

The commissioners asked just where the rumble strips would start (about 100 feet above Twin Pond Lane, near Canoe Hill Road), where there’s any downside to the installation (no) and whether the state will pay for the work (yes).

“We have had driveway issues and other things” on that stretch of Smith Ridge Road, Foley said. “It’s wide enough, straight enough and fast enough.”

The town recently petitioned the state to reduce the speed limit on 123 to 40 mph throughout the road’s entire stretch through New Canaan. Though New Canaan saw a decrease in car crashes overall amid the pandemic, Route 123 above Canoe Hill Road has been one of the road that town officials have focused on to improve sight lines and safety.

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