Portsmouth ‘road diet’ hearing is Monday

A proposed road diet would reduce a section of Bristol Ferry Road to one lane in each direction. A proposed road diet would reduce a section of Bristol Ferry Road to one lane in each direction.

A proposed road diet would reduce a section of Bristol Ferry Road to one lane in each direction.

A proposed road diet would reduce a section of Bristol Ferry Road to one lane in each direction.

PORTSMOUTH — Want to put in your two cents regarding a proposed “road diet” for Bristol Ferry Road?

If so, you’ll want to be at Town Hall Monday night, March 31.

Officials from the R.I. Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will be meeting with the Town Council for the expressed purpose of gathering public comment on the plan, which calls for reducing the road by one lane in each direction, with a center lane for left-hand turns.

Don’t be late, however. The hearing starts at 6 p.m. — an hour earlier than regular council meetings.

The “road diet” would be installed on Bristol Ferry Road between Turnpike Avenue and Boyd’s Lane — an approximately 1.3-mile stretch.

The project has faced opposition from some residents and council members, who say no lane reductions should take place until it’s determined whether a permanent toll will be instituted on the Sakonnet River Bridge. Council member David Gleason, for one, said he believes some drivers will use Bristol Ferry Road as a way of getting around the bridge toll.

Those who support reducing lanes on Bristol Ferry, including Robert Smith, RIDOT deputy chief engineer, say it would make the road safer by slowing traffic.

According to the State Traffic Commission which recommended the lane reduction, 48 crashes occurred from 2008 to 2012 on Bristol Ferry. Two of those crashes resulted in fatalities, and there were two additional fatal crashes last year alone.

At a council meeting last month, Mr. Smith said the road diet won’t happen if it faces widespread opposition from the town.

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