NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — Route 82 in Norwich is known not so affectionately as “crash alley.” The state is seeking public input on its proposal to make Route 82 in Norwich safer.
According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, during the past five years, there have been an average of 100 crashes on this road with 35 injuries a year.
The mayor says people often speed by other cars on the right while others try to navigate two lanes of oncoming traffic to turn left.
“It could be dangerous,” said Mary Coyer of Norwich. She has seen two accidents. One involving her nephew.
“Somebody went to turn and his whole car got wiped out,” said Coyer.
40% of them have been at areas where there are not any signal lights and 60% were at intersections where there were traffic lights.
To make this road safer, the DOT is suggesting there be six roundabouts on the mile and a half of road — three during the first phase and three during the second phase.
The public is going to have a chance to weigh in on this plan Thursday night but some already shared their opinions.
The state says when signaled intersections are converted into roundabouts there are 78% fewer severe crashes and 48% fewer overall crashes.
“Roundabouts I don’t think is a good idea because it’s gonna be more dangerous,” said Coyer.
The DOT’s plan would make this four-lane two lanes, with one lane going each way and a median in the center. That means those coming out of these driveways or side streets would have to take a right and then if they wanted to turn around the other way, they would do so at the next roundabout.
“Six roundabouts in a mile and a third is overkill,” said Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom.
The mayor worries the construction alone could drive many on Route 82 out of business.
The more than $20-million project is expected to begin in the Spring of 2024.
“If they do it, I’ll avoid the west side,” said Coyer.
The DOTs public presentation is set to begin tonight at 7pm at the Kelly Magnet Middle School in Norwich.
For those who can’t make it in person, the meeting will also be streamed live on YouTube at this link.