The town of Fairfield is considering spending over $23.1 million over the next few years to make improvements to Black Rock Turnpike, the site of numerous accidents.
According to a report commissioned by Fairfield and the Connecticut Metropolitan Council of Governments (MetroCOG), approximately 20,000 vehicles travel along the turnpike every day; that volume, combined with the road’s width, traffic speed, and frequent driveways have caused the Turnpike to be identified as “a trouble spot” by the town.
Across the three-year analysis period (2014-16), there were 428 total crashes that occurred within the study area — a road segment approximately 1.73 miles in length – with 22% involving an injury, including three fatalities.
The report also includes the results of an online survey of 1,069 people — about 70% of whom were Fairfield residents – that found that 56% of respondents wanted to see safety improvements and general road maintenance, while 39% indicated that a new corridor vision and full redesign of the road was needed.
Recommended improvements to the Turnpike include lane reductions, the installation of roundabouts, enhanced pedestrian crossings, modifications to intersections, and improved parking lot circulation.
The $23.1 million plan “is a complex project that could take many years to complete,” the study warned. A less expensive plan, estimated at $10.1 million, was suggested as an alternative; while involving fewer improvements, it would still “yield a high safety benefit” and take about a year to complete, according to the report.
The Black Rock Turnpike Safety Study was prepared by a project team including consultants Fitzgerald & Halliday Inc., with assistance from Tighe & Bond and CT Counts LLC. The total budget for the study was $375,000 and was fully funded by the State of Connecticut’s Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program.