State to lower speed limit near Flood Brook school in Londonderry

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LONDONDERRY — The Vermont Traffic Committee voted last month to establish a school speed limit zone on Route 11 near Flood Brook School.

The change, which would lower the speed limit on a stretch of the state highway from 50 to 40 miles per hour during certain hours, is contingent upon the town or school paying half the cost of installing flashing beacons that show when the limit is in effect.

The local match requirement is standard policy of the Vermont Agency of Transportation, which will cover the other half of the cost, said Ian Degutis, a VTrans traffic operations engineer.

Flood Brook School Principal Neal McIntyre, who has advocated for the speed limit change since around 2014, said the highway is a major thoroughfare that attracts significant truck traffic.

"I did a little touchdown dance" after the committee's vote, McIntyre said.

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The Londonderry Select Board formally requested the reduced speed limit in a July 1 letter to the committee.

"We acknowledge that VTrans conducted a speed study a few years back indicating that average travel speeds were consistently in excess of the posted 50 mph speed limit," the letter reads in part, "and we firmly believe these speeds in this location pose a significant threat to our school children and their families."

VTrans, amid future roadwork in the area, may also consider the creation of a turning lane near the school, said McIntyre, though that possibility is not mentioned in a letter from VTrans to the Select Board announcing the committee's Aug. 28 decision.

McIntyre said he expects the local share of the beacon installation cost to be about $5,000, which could be shared by the school's four sending towns and the school district. Degutis of VTrans called that figure a fair estimate.

Contact Luke Nathan at lnathan@benningtonbanner.com.


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