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Another traffic circle?

Members of the town board and engineers met July 5 to discuss possible ways to improve the Dunning Street and Fox Wander West intersection.

The general feeling was that a roundabout, much like the one being constructed off Exit 12, would be the preferred design.

Executive Vice President of M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. Michael Panichelli told board members and residents that the federal Department of Transportation found that roundabouts were safer than traffic signals and because a roundabout works with the design of the intersection, it would be a preferred solution as opposed to a traffic light, a possibility that was also discussed.

Panichelli and Project Manager Melanie Osterhout presented the findings of a study they conducted of the intersection. Osterhout said in the next 20 years, the Dunning Street and Fox Wander West intersection would fail to provide the level of service required by the DOT.

Malta's population is growing at a rate of 1.25 percent. Osterhout said they factored a growth rate of 2 percent from 2007 until 2012 then 1.25 percent for the remaining 20 years.

Osterhout said using a traffic signal would mean having to widen the road and create a left-turn lane in both directions on Dunning Street.

The area around the Dunning Street and Fox Wander West intersection is residential and town supervisor Paul Sausville said speeding traffic was a constant concern in the area. The speed limit on Dunning Street is currently 45 mph.

Sausville said decreasing the speed limit could be a possibility, but people will still speed through the intersection if they see the light is green or if the light is yellow turning red.

Panichelli said a roundabout could alleviate some of the problems with speeding in the area because in a roundabout traffic can only move 15 mph. People are forced to slow down and yield to oncoming traffic, he said.

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