The newly paved Business Park Road in the Norwich business park ends with barricades at its intersection with Vergason Avenue on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. The intersection has been closed to traffic for decades, but Norwich city officials plan to reopen it in a ground test to allow Vergason Avenue residents direct access to the business park. (Claire Bessette/The Day)
Norwich – Ever since Marissa Dube moved into her home on Vergason Avenue about six months ago, she’s been puzzled about why saw-tooth barricades keep her from turning right onto Business Park Road, which it would give her a much more direct route to work in Lebanon.
The barricade has blocked the intersection for decades, preventing traffic from entering the business park onto the narrow, residential road that borders the business park. A second barricade north of Dube’s home at 233 Vergason Ave. makes the road a cul-de-sac, with a second section of Vergason continuing beyond that point on Hilltop Road, also bordering the business park.
Public Works Director Patrick McLaughlin told the City Council Monday he thinks it’s time to remove the barricade on Business Park Road and allow residents to enter the business park directly, instead of driving 1.7 miles down West Town Street and encounter several traffic lights to reach the business. the park. He proposed keeping the northern barricade in Vergason in place.
McLaughlin presented his plan to the City Council on Monday. He said removing the barricades would help with snow removal in the winter because from West Town Street, Vergason is a narrow, long uphill climb that is difficult to negotiate during heavy snowstorms. McLaughlin said the issue came to mind because the department recently paved roads in the business park, including Business Park Road.
In Norwich, Chief Constable Patrick Daley is the traffic authority. McLaughlin will meet with Daley this week to discuss the matter and will likely reopen the road soon. An outline for a painted stop bar has already been marked on the new pavement.
Council members suggested reopening the road for six months or a year to see if there are any problems. Daley said that’s likely how the reopening will begin.
“I would love it if they would do that,” Dube said of removing the barricade on Business Park Road. “I would go that way to work every day, avoiding all the traffic (on West Town Street).
She’s also pleased the city plans to keep the north curb on Vergason Avenue.
Dube works at the Charles River Laboratory in Lebanon and her company’s human resources office is in Norwich Business Park, so removing the barrier would help her get to both places faster.
McLaughlin told the City Council he doesn’t think the move will attract business park traffic to use the residential road. He said the route would actually be longer for most trucks and workers to use Vergason starting from the business park on West Town Street, with the main thoroughfare, Connecticut Avenue, being a more direct route.