Selectmen Back New Signs And Striping To Make Bourne Rotary Safer To Drive
By: Diana T. Barth
If a preliminary plan currently under discussion is approved, visitors going to and from Cape Cod will be greeted by signs giving them advance notice that they are approaching the Bourne Rotary, followed by signs with arrows showing them what lane to use, based on their destination, to safely navigate that circle.
The rotary, itself, which currently varies in width from about 35 to 40 feet, would be striped to create two 15-foot-wide lanes. Crosshatching would be used to indicate that the pavement at the perimeter of the rotary is out of bounds to drivers.
Bourne selectmen heard a presentation about the plan, designed to be a low-cost, high-yield way to make interim safety improvements to the rotary, from Cape Cod Commission traffic engineer Clay Schofield; representatives of BETA Group, a Rhode Island-based consulting firm with experience in traffic engineering; and Rickie J. Tellier of the Bourne Highway Department.
Kien Ho of BETA Group said the average daily traffic using the Bourne Bridge, and thus the rotary, is about 60,000 vehicles. Some 23,675 vehicles use the rotary to access Sandwich Road, and 9,360, Trowbridge Road.
From 2006 through 2008, there were 76 accidents at the rotary, clustered in areas where some vehicles are entering the rotary while others are trying to exit it.
PDF of the power point presentation given to the Bourne Board of Selectman by the BETA Group
Where traffic from the Sandwich Road enters the rotary, BETA Group proposed marking two lanes, the right one designated for traffic going over the bridge and the left lane for cars continuing around the rotary.
Additionally, a few feet of the state-owned land near the International House of Pancakes would be used to widen the rotary a bit so that large trucks heading from Route 28 North onto the Bourne Bridge would not have to swing wide, encroaching on the lefthand lane. Mr. Ho said those big trucks were seen to have difficulty negotiating the curve of the rotary followed by the turn onto the bridge.
Mr. Ho showed selectmen possible signs, some designed for overhead signs on the major highways entering that rotary.
Those heading toward the Bourne Bridge on Route 25, for example, would be advised via the signs that Woods Hole/Route 28 South would be straight across the rotary ahead, Trowbridge Road would be to the right and Sandwich around the rotary to the left.
A little closer to the rotary, signs with arrows would indicate that those wanting the first exit to the right or to go across the rotary toward Falmouth should travel in the right lane of the Bourne Bridge. Those wanting to go around the rotary onto Sandwich Road will be told to stay in the lefthand lane.
To prevent more weaving than absolutely necessary, a third, dedicated lane going from Route 28 North onto Sandwich Road was not recommended. The verge area now used by drivers to go around the traffic heading north onto the bridge would be cross-hatched to indicate that those vehicles exiting toward Sagamore and Sandwich should stay, instead, in the farthest right of the two planned lanes.
Mr. Tellier said he thinks the plan would make the rotary significantly safer.
Selectman Jamie J. Sloniecki asked about the durability of the striping and the arrows and signs that will be painted on the road, prompting a discussion that ended with the suggestion that reflective devices be embedded in the roadway to mark lanes.
Selectmen also wanted assurances that, if the plan were to be implemented, it would not delay or change their first priority: eliminating the rotary altogether.
Mr. Schofield said that elimination would remain the commission’s first priority.
The representatives from the BETA Group and Mr. Schofield presented the plans to the county’s joint transportation committee last June, meeting with some objections and suggestions. They met with the Town of Bourne in July, and made changes to the plan, based on all of the input.
The next step, the presenters said, will be to meet with Massachusetts Department of Transportation representatives to present recommendations as to the design and construction of the proposed improvements.
They emphasized that work still needed to be done on the plan. The engineers want more traffic data to validate their recommendations as well as a more targeted analysis of the weaving currently going on in the rotary.
When Mr. Ho and Mr. Schofield mentioned the possibility of looking at the Belmont Circle at the east end of Main Street, Buzzards Bay, as well, Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino told them that the town already had a relatively low cost plan for eliminating that traffic circle before the state Department of Transportation and had a meeting scheduled shortly with members of its highway division.
Mr. Schofield told selectmen that the BETA Group created the plan pro bono.
Selectmen Chairman Donald J. Pickard asked for a vote of the board and, after those present unanimously recommended that the proponents of the plan move it forward, directed Mr. Guerino to write a letter to MassHighway indicating the board’s support.
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