EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 13, 2013

Tight fit at new rotary

Granite islands, curbs causing problems for big rigs

(Continued)

Since the curb installation, there have been no major accidents, yet motorists are experiencing delays, especially during work commutes, as they get used to the new traffic pattern, according to police.

On Wednesday, according to a police officer working a detail, a 53-foot-long tractor trailer barely made it through the rotary. It wasn’t easy, he said, but the truck driver was able to complete the turn.

So far, the roundabout hasn’t proved to be a safety hazard in terms of fire coverage. Newburyport fire Deputy Chief Stephen Bradbury said so far there hasn’t been a need to send one of its ladder trucks throughout the rotary. But that’s not to say a problem couldn’t arise, Bradbury added, saying it might make sense to send a ladder truck through the rotary for a trial run before an actual emergency takes place.

In addition to the island curbing issue, construction vehicles have led to traffic backups and prompted a warning from the police department, via its Facebook page, to avoid the area unless you don’t mind being stuck in traffic. On Wednesday, work crews battled oppressive heat as they continued to install sidewalks and work on the island.

A nearby neighbor was seen handing workers water and Gatorade he purchased and placed in an ice-filled cooler. According to the resident, who didn’t want to be identified for this story, he hasn’t witnessed any issues with large vehicles traveling through the rotary. Minutes before saying those words, a reporter watched a school bus seamlessly pass through the rotary and drop off a student at a nearby house.

Holaday said work is expected to continue throughout the fall with the hope that it’s completed by the end of the year.

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