Regional Transportation Plan

Transportation
 
Print
Share Print
     
Make Text Smaller


Make Text Smaller
Smaller Larger

TRAFFIC PLANNING FOR
CENTRAL NEW MILFORD, CT

PART 4: BOARDMAN ROAD CORRIDOR

1. INTRO 2. DOWNTOWN 3. GROVE STREET 4. BOARDMAN ROAD 5. PATRIOTS WAY
6. EAST - WEST CONNECTOR 7. HOUSATONIC BRIDGES 8. TRAFFIC IMPROVEMENT


OVERVIEW
The upgrading of traffic capacity along the Boardman Road Corridor has been a long term municipal goal, recommended as far back as the New Milford Town Plan of 1959.

The Town Plan of that year stated of the corridor, composed of Youngs Field Road on the south, Housatonic Avenue and then Boardman Road on the north, that it “must be widened and improved particularly where it passes under the railroad; in addition to providing access to both the Nestles factory and Scovill Manufacturing Company’s plant the road will serve several potential sites for new industry.”

The entire corridor from combined Routes 67 and 202 (Bridge Street) on the south to Route 7 on the north is about 2.6 miles in length. It extends from southeast to northwest along the east bank of the Housatonic River.

Proceeding north from Bridge Street, important traffic planning landmarks are the nearby railroad bridge over Housatonic Avenue at about the 0.5 mile mark, the intersection with Aspetuck Ridge Road at about 0.9 miles, the railroad bridge over Boardman Road at 1.5 miles, and the end of the corridor at 2.6 miles, just after the Boardman Bridge crossing of the Housatonic River.

A 1978 origin and destination survey offered some perspective on the users of Boardman Road. While that is a long time ago, such data changes slowly, and the 1978 findings still have some relevance today.

That year only 37% of the trips on Boardman Road were found to be entirely internal to New Milford, a low figure. Most of these were from the Gaylordsville section on Route 7 southerly to either jobs along Boardman Road or to shopping in Downtown New Milford.

Users of Boardman Road by Route 7 motorists from Wingdale, New York via Route 55, and then nearby Sherman, CT via Route 37 were particularly noticeable. With such intertown travel recorded, Boardman Road is documented as an important traffic circulation component within New Milford and indeed the region.

For comparison, the distance from the intersection of Youngs Field Road and Bridge Street to Route 7 at Boardman Bridge via the Boardman Road Corridor (east bank of Housatonic) is about 2.6 miles. The distance between these two points via Route 7 and Veterans Bridge (west bank of Housatonic) is about 2.4 miles.

BOARDMAN ROAD CORRIDOR
ORIGINATING AT BRIDGE STREET

At the starting point with combined Routes 67 and 202, the travelway is named Youngs Field Road. This designation continues for just one half mile, to near the adjacent railroad overpass, first after which the name changes to Housatonic Avenue.

The intersection of Youngs Field Road with Bridge Street has had problematic traffic operations for some time. Looking back at traffic history, we see that due to growing volumes on Route 202, by 1984 vehicles on the southbound Youngs Field Road approach to Bridge Street were having difficulty making left turns to travel east towards the Downtown Area. The westbound lane of Route 202 was simply becoming too congested to provide gaps for this turning movement.

Looking west towards Veterans Bridge, with Youngs Field Road at right

Town officials then petitioned the State Traffic Commission to post the southbound Youngs Field Road approach to Route 202 for no left turn, which was duly approved.

But back then, southbound vehicles prohibited from the left turn could then turn right onto Route 202, cross Veterans Bridge and proceed around the traffic circle then still in operation. This was an easy way for them to reverse direction and head easterly on Route 202. But the low capacity circle design was converted to a signalized T-type intersection in 1989, making that strategy much more difficult.

To restore the left turn to Route 202 for southbound Youngs Field Road traffic, signalization of the intersection has been suggested. But this proposal must be weighed against the safety factor of having traffic back up across Veterans Bridge in response to a new signal installed at the east end of the Bridge.

A 1998 HVCEO report entitled “Traffic Flow Improvement Options for Bridge Street” documented that even without a signal, vehicles making left turns from eastbound Route 202 onto Youngs Field Road temporarily block Route 202, as there is little room for a turning lane or wider bypass shoulder.

That report suggested “The situation can be improved by marginally reducing the westbound road width and thus increasing the eastbound road width, allowing eastbound Route 202 through vehicles to pass left turning vehicles without causing delay. Another solution would be to prohibit these eastbound left turns during peak periods.”

A 2004 traffic study sponsored by the New Milford Economic Development Commission (EDC) documented that of morning peak hour eastbound traffic on Bridge Street, 13% of the flow makes a left turn on to Youngs Field Road, and for the afternoon peak hour the figure was similar, 15%.

Looking towards a long term solution, a Town idea included in a 1984 HVCEO study suggested that relocation of the Youngs Field Road intersection with Bridge Street, to east of its current alignment. For the latest thinking see the Patriots Way page.

BOARDMAN ROAD CORRIDOR AT
RAILROAD BRIDGE OVER HOUSATONIC AVENUE

About one half mile north of Route 202 the corridor takes on the name Housatonic Avenue, the continuation of a roadway arriving from the northeast. Housatonic Avenue arriving from under the railroad overpass is the primary access for thru traffic in the corridor from and to nearby Downtown New Milford.


Railroad overpass about 100 feet from Youngs Field Road

The low railroad overpass over Housatonic Avenue here is posted for a maximum vehicular height of nine feet, a figure that compares unfavorably common truck heights. There has never been a feasibility study as to the costs or impacts of removing this height restriction.

Continuing along the corridor, shortly after Housatonic Avenue is the crossing of the West Aspetuck River, the upstream basin of which is designated by the state Conservation and Development Policies Plan as a potential future public water supply watershed area.

BOARDMAN ROAD CORRIDOR
AT ASPETUCK RIDGE ROAD

This intersecting roadway is about 0.9 north of Bridge Street. Aspetuck Ridge Road intersects Boardman Road as a “T” intersection in very close proximity to the at grade crossing of the railroad. The geometry of this intersection is poor and traffic operations are hampered because the railroad crossing to the east is placed several feet higher than the elevation of the intersection.

A 2004 traffic study sponsored by the New Milford EDC documented that of six possible movements at this three way "T" intersection, the dominant movement in the morning peak hour is the southbound left turn from Aspetuck Ridge Road southbound to Housatonic Avenue. Then in the afternoon peak the reverse of this movement is dominant.

Just one tenth mile to the north on Aspetuck Ridge Road is the accessways to a former and now future major traffic generator. This is the vacant Century Brass Products rolling and finishing mill, containing about 320,000 square feet of potential business space, set on 72 municipally owned acres of land.

Now empty, this massive building was opened in 1957 but closed in 1985. The property was acquired by the Town for back taxes in 1999 and is undergoing environmental cleanup prior to reuse.

This redeveloping property is now known as the Century Enterprise Center. A major industrial property with sewer system access, the Century Enterprise Center has the potential to be a major addition to New Milford's tax base. The Housatonic Railroad freight service runs adjacent to the site and rail sidings extending into the building are an attractive asset. However, the low railroad overpass on Boardman Road to the northwest is an access limitation.

Proper traffic service for this important property is a major municipal and regional concern. As noted above there are significant constraints to traffic and truck capacity to the south, at Housatonic Avenue and at Bridge Street.

There are few options available to reach Route 7 across the Housatonic River. The main option at present is to proceed south on a relocated Aspetuck Ridge Road to Housatonic Avenue, then northwest along a relocated Housatonic Avenue that avoids the upcoming low railroad overpass, continuing on to the Boardman Bridge across the Housatonic River and Route 7.

BOARDMAN ROAD CORRIDOR AT
HOUSATONIC RAILROAD OVERPASS

This problematic traffic feature is two thirds of a mile further along the corridor from the intersection with Aspetuck Ridge Road. The designation Housatonic Avenue continues up until near the overpass.

The substandard vertical clearance of only 12 feet, sharp horizontal curves, and a horizontal width of only 25 feet, 9 inches under the old railroad bridge are the significant constraints of this dated traffic feature.


Given this bridge height, again in relation to common truck heights and the permissible state maximum of 13' 6", some tractor trailers and other high trucks cannot pass through this feature.

The possible reconstruction of the approaches to the railroad overpass of Boardman Road was examined in HVCEO’s 1995 Bulletin 83 entitled “Traffic Access Improvement Plan for the Boardman Road Area.”

Bridge improvement options, including rebuilding to a 50 foot clear distance between abutments and a 16' 3" vertical clearance, coupled with adjacent roadway realignment, were estimated by the 1995 report as costing near $4.5 million dollars.

But another improvement option was pursued in 1999, when Town officials submitted a new bridge area improvement concept to Conn DOT for evaluation. Instead of rebuilding the current railroad overpass, this concept would bypass it entirely with a relocation of Boardman Road.

The proposal was for Boardman Road itself to be realigned by constructing an new overpass to carry it over the railroad tracks to the west of Sostak Road.

It would then continue westerly on the north side of the tracks, until it meets with the section of existing Boardman Road that is beyond the bridge, thus bypassing the inadequate underpass. The scope of construction for this area was approximately 3,000 feet.

This concept was then further refined during a Conn DOT review. The final concept that emerged in 2001 would relocate Boardman Road from the south side of the railroad tracks, not by a new bridge. but by an at grade crossing.

The existing crossing of Aspetuck Ridge Road over the tracks would essentially be rebuilt to serve the goals of the Boardman Road relocation, the avoidance of the low railroad overpass about 0.7 miles to the west.

The 2001 cost estimate for this improvement was $5, 256,000 and is shown in generalized form on the two maps below. See related 2001 Conn DOT report.

A supplemental page shows three more detailed views of the same improvement.


The Conn DOT analysis of 2001 found that Boardman Road in the vicinity of the proposed improvements had an average daily traffic volume of approximately 4,000 vehicles.

BOARDMAN ROAD CORRIDOR
AT VACANT INDUSTRIAL LAND

In 1983 the New Milford Economic Development Commission requested a study of industrial growth potential of the Boardman Road area by the King’s Mark Environmental Review Team. The resulting planning report focused on 350 acres of residentially zoned land, proposed for rezoning to industrial, which was indeed rezoned soon thereafter.

The 350 acre property is on the east side of Boardman Road, starting north of the northern driveway into the Nestle Product Technology Center. Adjacent property along Boardman Road, from Aspetuck Ridge Road northwesterly, had already been zoned industrial.

As with any parcel of this size, the 1983 report identified a series of environmental issues that industrial park development would need to deal with. One of these included the fact that the eastern portion of the growth area, beyond the ridge line, lies within the drainage basin of the West Aspetuck River, designated as a potential water supply source on state and regional plans, thus necessitating additional cautions.

The 1983 Kings Mark report also stated that “the presence of an approximately 350 acre parcel of land that can be developed as a coherent unit with a net tax yield presents an opportunity for New Milford to encourage high quality development."

Continuing "This encouragement can be in the form of a request to the property owner to take a multidisciplinary approach to site planning, through the retention of a team of planners, landscape architects, engineers and other professionals, rather than civil engineering skills acting alone. This added expense for the owners should enhance overall marketability and eventual profit.”

Excerpt from New Milford's 1997 Town Plan showing existing and
proposed sewered areas. The Boardman Road Area is
the large unsewered area to the northwest.

A 1984 HVCEO traffic study projected that daily traffic volume to the 350 acre parcel upon full development could range from 5,250 to 14,700 vehicles, depending upon the mix of business uses. It was also projected that new employment in the corridor would be oriented 55% to the Boardman Bridge at the northwest end and 45% southeasterly.

BOARDMAN ROAD CORRIDOR
ENDING AT ROUTE 7

As early as 1969 local officials were petitioning Conn DOT for replacement of the historic one lane Boardman Bridge here, dating from 1888. While this bridge had served the Town well for many years, in the automotive era it had become one of the key constraints to economic development along the Boardman Road Corridor.

The Town funded design studies for a Boardman Bridge replacement in the mid seventies. It was agreed by all that the historic one lane Boardman Bridge would be kept in place aside the new bridge.

Federal funds were then granted and after a design process construction of the new bridge was completed in 1984. A recommendation from the HVCEO's 1984 review of the Boardman Road Corridor saw the eventual need to construct turning lanes and signalization at the Boardman Road and Route 7 intersection, as the vast reserve of land for economic development was occupied. There are no turning lanes on any of the three intersection legs here at present.

A 2003 traffic study sponsored by the New Milford EDC documented that of Route 7 southbound morning hour peak traffic flow, 22% makes the left turn on to Boardman Bridge. Of Route 7 southbound afternoon peak hour traffic flow, 28% of vehicles make this left turn movement.

To continue this review of Central New Milford traffic issues, proceed to section 5, a review of the proposed Patriots Way Bypass.

1. INTRO 2. DOWNTOWN 3. GROVE STREET 4. BOARDMAN ROAD 5. PATRIOTS WAY
6. EAST - WEST CONNECTOR 7. HOUSATONIC BRIDGES 8. TRAFFIC IMPROVEMENT

 
Back Button Spacer Back Button