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    Saturday, October 01, 2022

    Norwich to open Business Park Road to Vergason Avenue neighborhood

    Newly paved Business Park Road in the Norwich business park ends with barricades at its intersection with Vergason Avenue on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. The intersection has been closed to through traffic for decades, but Norwich city officials plan to open it on a trial basis to allow Vergason Avenue residents direct access to the business park. (Claire Bessette/The Day)
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    Norwich – Since Marissa Dube moved into her home on Vergason Avenue about six months ago, she has been puzzled as to why sawhorse style barricades prevent her from taking a right from her street onto Business Park Road which would give her a much more direct route to work in Lebanon.

    The barricade has blocked the intersection for decades, preventing traffic from the business park from entering the narrow, residential street that borders the business park. A second barricade just north of Dube’s house at 233 Vergason Ave. makes the street a dead-end road, with a second portion of Vergason continuing beyond that point to Hilltop Road, also bordering the business park.

    Public Works Director Patrick McLaughlin told the City Council Monday he thinks it’s time to remove the barricade at Business Park Road and let residents access the business park directly, rather than driving 1.7 miles down to West Town Street and encountering several traffic lights to reach the business park. He proposed keeping in place the northern barricade on Vergason.

    McLaughlin presented his plan to the City Council Monday. He said removing the barricades would help with snow removal in winter, because from West Town Street, Vergason is a narrow, long uphill climb, difficult to negotiate during heavy snowstorms. McLaughlin said the issue came to mind because the department recently paved streets in the business park, including Business Park Road.

    In Norwich, Police Chief Patrick Daley is the traffic authority. McLaughlin will meet with Daley this week to discuss the issue and likely will reopen the road soon. An outline for a painted stop bar already has been marked on the new pavement.

    Council members suggested reopening the road for six months or a year to see if there are any problems. Daley said that is likely how the reopening will start.

    “I would love it if they did that,” Dube said of removing the barricade at Business Park Road. “I would go that way to work every day, avoiding all the traffic (on West Town Street).”

    She also is pleased the city plans to keep the northern barrier on Vergason Avenue.

    Dube works at Charles River Laboratory in Lebanon, and her company’s human resources office is in the Norwich business park, so removing the barrier would help her reach both locations quicker.

    McLaughlin told the City Council he does not think the move would entice business park traffic to use the residential road. He said the route actually would be longer for most trucks and employees to use Vergason heading out of the business park to West Town Street, with the main road, Connecticut Avenue, being a more direct route.


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