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VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L  March 1999

VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L March 1999

Subject:

Paving and Shoulders

From:

Haas/Davidow <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Discussion <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 21 Mar 1999 11:56:29 -0500

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (67 lines) , Paving and Shoulders.wps (67 lines) , Paving and Shoulders Text.txt (19 lines)

Karen:
Here are my thoughts and observations on Repaving and Shoulders. I'm also
attaching this as a text and a MS Works file.
Bud Haas

I have observed several major problems in repaving jobs on Vermont state
highways over the past three years.

The first missed opportunity was the work done on Vt rt #5 adjacent to the
“ledges”, halfway between Fairlee and Bradford.  This quarter mile stretch
is one of the most dangerous on the length of rt#5, as the road narrows
between the ledges (a rock face hill) on the west side and railroad tracks
below the highway on the east.  A heavy fence was constructed alongside the
ledges for a hundred yards or so to keep rock from falling on the road.  No
apparent efforts were made to create a bicycle shoulder here.
A “bicycle” width shoulder, 2 or 3 feet wide, should have been created on
each side of the highway.  This was not done, and indeed, one 6 to 10 foot
section of hill side stone still comes right up to the “white line”.  It
would have been an ideal time to clear a decent shoulder on both sides of
the road, for both cyclists and vehicles.

During 1997-98, a lot, if not all of Rt#5 was adorned with new guardrails
and a repaving job.   During the process, many sections of guardrail were
moved in towards the center of the road, reducing and in some places
eliminating existing paved shoulder.  Guardrails were erected in sections
that previously had none, thus eliminating sections of paved shoulder.  (The
guardrails should have been constructed outside of the existing shoulder).
Specifically, areas along rt#5, 3 to 5 miles north of Norwich, areas just
north of Fairlee, and 2-4 miles north of Bradford.  My complaint here is not
that the shoulder wasn’t paved, but that in many of these areas, it was
reduced or eliminated.

The “new” guardrails  themselves are unsafe.  The steel posts (replacing
wooden ones) have very sharp edges which stick up just above the top of the
rail.  The rails themselves have very sharp knife edges.

Portions of Rt#302 adjacent to Riddell Pond were also recently repaved.  In
that area,  no shoulder was paved  at all.  At one point along the Riddell
Pond curve,  a hole forms on the north side of the road from lack of a
decent shoulder.  East along Rt#302, the paved shoulder was not repaved as
wide as the previously existing shoulder, creating an uneven shoulder
surface.

Another dangerous curve exists on Rt #25 about one quarter mile west of the
Bradford-Corinth town line.  The inside curve, going east, was so badly
eroded that vehicles had to cross the centerline on the curve to clear the
hole.  Cyclists had to go into the center of the lane to clear the hole.
The hole was patched in 1998, but no shoulder was created, paved or
otherwise.  Again, a 2-3 foot wide shoulder should be established and paved
here to allow vehicles and cyclists to safely navigate this curve.
(Rt #25 at Wrights Mtn in Bradford hasn’t been recently repaved, but a
pothole on the white line on nw side of that intersection (noshoulder)
caused a cycling accident there.)

It is my general observation that the most dangerous curves on the state
highways are places with little or no shoulders.  I think the situation
remains so because the highway engineers are “waiting” until they can
redesign (i.e. straighten) the road and eliminate the dangerous curves.  The
answer is not to straighten every dangerous curve in Vermont, but to build a
2 or 3 foot paved shoulder along these curves, to allow cyclists and motor
vehicles simultaneous safe passage around them.  Major projects are not
required to make these highways safe.






I have observed several major problems in repaving jobs on Vermont state highways over the past three years. The first missed opportunity was the work done on Vt rt #5 adjacent to the “ledges”, halfway between Fairlee and Bradford. This quarter mile stretch is one of the most dangerous on the length of rt#5, as the road narrows between the ledges (a rock face hill) on the west side and railroad tracks below the highway on the east. A heavy fence was constructed alongside the ledges for a hundred yards or so to keep rock from falling on the road. No apparent efforts were made to create a bicycle shoulder here. A “bicycle” width shoulder, 2 or 3 feet wide, should have been created on each side of the highway. This was not done, and indeed, one 6 to 10 foot section of hill side stone still comes right up to the “white line”. It would have been an ideal time to clear a decent shoulder on both sides of the road, for both cyclists and vehicles. During 1997-98, a lot, if not all of Rt#5 was adorned with new guardrails and a repaving job. During the process, many sections of guardrail were moved in towards the center of the road, reducing and in some places eliminating existing paved shoulder. Guardrails were erected in sections that previously had none, thus eliminating sections of paved shoulder. (The guardrails should have been constructed outside of the existing shoulder). Specifically, areas along rt#5, 3 to 5 miles north of Norwich, areas just north of Fairlee, and 2-4 miles north of Bradford. My complaint here is not that the shoulder wasn’t paved, but that in many of these areas, it was reduced or eliminated. The “new” guardrails are themselves are unsafe. The steel posts (replacing wooden ones) have very sharp edges which stick up just above the top of the rail. The rails themselves have very sharp knife edges. Portions of Rt#302 adjacent to Riddell Pond were also recently repaved. In that area, no shoulder was paved at all. At one point along the Riddell Pond curve, a hole forms on the north side of the road from lack of a decent shoulder. East along Rt#302, the paved shoulder was not repaved as wide as the previously existing shoulder, creating an uneven shoulder surface. Another dangerous curve exists on Rt #25 about one quarter mile west of the Bradford-Corinth town line. The inside curve, going east, was so badly eroded that vehicles had to cross the centerline on the curve to clear the hole. Cyclists had to go into the center of the lane to clear the hole. The hole was patched in 1998, but no shoulder was created, paved or otherwise. Again, a 2-3 foot wide shoulder should be established and paved here to allow vehicles and cyclists to safely navigate this curve. (Rt #25 at Wrights Mtn in Bradford hasn’t been recently repaved, but a pothole on the white line on nw side of that intersection (noshoulder) caused a cycling accident there.) It is my general observation that the most dangerous curves on the state highways are places with little or no shoulders. I think the situation remains so because the highway engineers are “waiting” until they can redesign (i.e. straighten) the road and eliminate the dangerous curves. The answer is not to straighten every dangerous curve in Vermont, but to build a 2 or 3 foot paved shoulder along these curves, to allow cyclists and motor vehicles simultaneous safe passage around them. Major projects are not required to make these highways safe.

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