Town To Tap State Officials for Traffic Study on Dangerous Stretch of Route 123


The scene of a two-car crash at Michigan and Smith Ridge Roads on Feb. 28, 2019. New Canaan Credit: Michael Dinan

Town officials say they’re tapping state officials to conduct a traffic study along Route 123 in the area of Michigan Road following a pair of serious car crashes there recently.

It isn’t clear what can be done to make the intersection safer, though Police Deputy Chief John Federico said Tuesday the biggest problems appear to be that motorists on Michigan Road have poor sight lines for southbound traffic on Route 123, and that those traveling on the state road northbound have poor sight lines for those trying to enter the road.

“Anything to clear up the line-of-sight in both directions would be a big help,” DiFederico said during a meeting of the Traffic Calming Work Group, held at police headquarters.

Public Works Director Tiger Mann said that although there isn’t much vegetation right now blocking views, “there is a very large rock outcropping” that the state may need to look at. The outcropping is located on the east side of Route 123, just south of the Michigan Road intersection, he said.

The town has seen car crashes in the area of Smith Ridge and Michigan Roads on March 9 and Feb. 28, when three were sent to a hospital.

DiFederico said a three-year accident history at the intersection showed that while the figure itself is not especially high, “when the accidents do happen there they are of a serious nature.”

“We did do some further research into motor vehicle accidents with injuries and overall motor vehicle accidents and we are seeing a clear pattern that Route 123 has the most number of significant accidents for us with injuries, the highest number, so we will do a lot of focused enforcement on 123,” he said. 

In addition, DiFederico said, the police will re-launch its “truck squad” once the warmer weather is here, cracking down on “overloaded mason dumps” and landscaping trucks and “keeping things safe, because that seems to be a hotbed of activity for us.”

The Traffic Calming Work Group, which includes representatives from public works, police, fire and parking, fields requests for traffic calming in New Canaan.

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