By John Toole
---- — PELHAM — State transportation officials, with approval from selectmen, are moving forward with safety improvements at the intersection of Route 38 and Old Gage Hill Road.
Meanwhile, they will give more review to possible improvements at Sherburne and Mammoth Roads.
The work at Route 38 and Old Gage Hill Road will involve improving sight lines by trimming trees, moving utility poles and removing ledge.
Traffic access to a nearby store also would be improved as part of the project.
The work is expected to cost about $100,000 and be paid for with federal aid.
The project likely will take place next year, though officials said a timetable needs to be firmed up.
Officials from the Department of Transportation recently met with selectmen to hear their concerns about the need for improvement at the intersections.
Town planning director Jeff Gowan told selectmen that while the proposed changes at Old Gage Hill Road and Route 38 don’t solve the whole problem, the project still could help.
“Any improvement at that intersection is worth trying to implement,” Gowan said.
State officials are recommending installing a median on Sherburne Road, a project also estimated to cost about $100,000 that would be paid for with federal funding.
But, at Selectman Robert Haverty’s suggestion, they first will consider whether placing a jersey barrier or barrels near the Mammoth and Sherburne intersection, imposing a sharper turn on drivers, could slow traffic and improve safety.
Selectmen also were told by transportation officials they could pursue more costly intersection fixes, involving signals or a roundabout, but funding isn’t immediately available and may not be for several years.
Those options ultimately may be pursued, but selectmen didn’t make a decision to do so.
Selectmen’s Chairman Ed Gleason acknowledged the projects recommended by DOT are first steps to improving safety.
“I look upon them as interim solutions,” Gleason said.
Gowan agreed with the assessment of state officials the more complex projects could take multiple years to fund and complete, so it was best to act on the smaller proposals.
“I’d certainly recommend we move ahead with these,” Gowan said. “I suggest we get something done sooner than later.”