Circle to end traffic woes

State transportation officials unveiled a plan to reduce accidents and speed traffic through the busy Rotterdam intersection of Curry Road and Hamburg Street, promising to end the current problem of traffic backing up to I-890.

Department of Transportation Region One engineer Richard Filkins told town board members at their Oct. 11 meeting that the intersection has been on their radar for repair for years because of its dangerous design.

Filkins said the installation of a roundabout will make the intersection of state routes 7 and 146, known as Curry Road and Hamburg Street, a safer, faster traffic intersection.

Filkins said the intersection regularly exceeds the federal threshold for mandatory review because of the high rate of accidents. He said the accident rate, of 177 percent, is nearly double the average rate for similar roadways statewide.

In addition to the safety concerns, the ability of the intersection to handle traffic is graded an F, on a scale of A to F, Filkins said, adding that the DOT has become more impressed with roundabouts as traffic solutions as mounting evidence convinced state officials to add them to the state's design manual. "When the roundabout is feasible, it is considered the department's favored alternative."

Filkins stressed that current roundabouts are safer than old designs, noting that concrete dividers, called splitter islands, force traffic to go slower through the roundabout. He said that current wide-node, narrow-link roundabouts make it easier for stopped cars to merge with circulating traffic than older rotary designs with tangential approaches for merging with faster-moving traffic already in the circle.

The engineer pointed to a number of local roundabouts installed locally that have worked as designed, speeding traffic through the intersections while reducing accidents and their severity. He noted the five new roundabouts at Malta, along with Greenwich and Voorheesville, calling them successful traffic solutions.

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