PLAINFIELD — Local officials say drivers continue to cause issues at the intersection of Route 2 and Main Street because of the temporary traffic lights that have been installed for the pedestrian bridge project.
Officials also need to secure a permit from the state for storing material near the site because the contractor the town is using already has dumped material there.
The Select Board held a special meeting Monday morning where the bridge project was discussed.
The plan is to install a sidewalk on a small portion of Mill Street in the village where it connects with Main Street and continues up Main Street to the bridge that crosses the Winooski River. The bridge will be widened to allow for a pedestrian walkway. Officials have said this plan will make walking in that part of town easier and safer.
The project started last month and residents immediately reported issues with the traffic lights that have been installed. The Route 2/Main Street intersection typically has a blinking yellow light. Temporary traffic lights were installed on Route 2 and on roads in the lower village to control traffic because the bridge had to be reduced to one lane. This caused traffic to back up on Route 2, something residents weren’t happy with.
Board member Sasha Thayer also reported last month she’s seen drivers not obey the traffic lights and act as if the lights aren’t there.
Thayer said at Monday’s meeting there have been reports of drivers from both directions on Route 2 passing vehicles stopped at the light in order to get through the intersection.
“People are going, ‘We’re not going to wait too long, we’re just going to go around the line of cars,’” she said.
Thayer suggested installing signs on both sides of the road telling drivers they cannot pass vehicles at that location.
Board chair Jim Volz pointed out there is a double-yellow line in the middle of that part of Route 2, but Thayer said drivers don’t seem to care.
Volz said he didn’t think the drivers knew what they were doing. He said they may think traffic is stopped for some other reason than a traffic light and they’re deciding to get around the traffic.
The town contracts with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department for patrolling services. Thayer said she would get in touch with those at the department and make them aware of the situation.
Board member Tammy Farnham said the contractor the town has hired to construct the pedestrian walkway has started removing material from under the bridge so that concrete supports can be built. Farham said some of that material was dumped in the parking lot across from the Town Hall on Route 2.
She said the state recently inspected the project and noted the town had not obtained a permit to store material there.
Farnham said the parking lot was already blocked off and was supposed to be used as space to store construction equipment, but not material.
“So we have to get an extended permit for them to store material there,” she said.
Farnham said the contract calls for the company to put back as much material as it can once the supports are constructed so what’s been piled up is waiting to go back in the ground.
She said seeking this permit should not delay the project because the material has already been dumped in the lot.
The board voted unanimously to allow Farnham to sign the necessary documents for the permit.
Farnham said she’s reached out to some people to see if they might want to take whatever material is left over once the project is finished.