There is a concern for road safety at the intersection at Handle Road. (Chris Mays/Reformer)
There is a concern for road safety at the intersection at Handle Road. (Chris Mays/Reformer)
Friday February 22, 2013

DOVER -- The dangerous intersection on Handle Road, near the Snow Barn and Mount Snow's Sundance parking lot, has been a topic of concern for years.

"I saw almost four accidents this weekend," said Selectboard member Buzzy Buswell, who owns a cab service that operates in the Deerfield Valley. "One of which, I almost got into. We should consider making this a four-way stop."

On Tuesday night, Dover Road Commissioner Bob Holland came to the board to present the Highway Department report, which included a plan that would narrow the intersection on Handle Road, "by cutting pavement and moving the stop bar out." He also mentioned the lack of a stop sign on the sub access road.

This is part of an assessment from the U.S Department of Transportation. Handle Road is part of a High Risk Rural Roads Program that is being implemented by the state to make safer highways and roads.

Although the discussion wasn't about adding stop signs to the intersection, it inevitably came up during talks.

Selectboard member Tom Baltrus, who drives a bus on Handle Road to get to and from the Kingswood condominiums, cited the many cases of drivers coming to a rolling stop and failing to come to a full stop.

Adding another stop sign wouldn't be feasible, the board ultimately agreed. There is a hill that would be too difficult to get up without a good, running start. Its pitch is too steep.

"Buses can't get up that hill (as it is)," Baltrus said. "That's why there is no stop sign."

Selectboard member Randy Terk suggested that the board defer its decision and discussion the issue with Mount Snow.

Conversation then shifted to the possibility of putting up guard rails. Some board members thought rusted guard rails wouldn't fit in aesthetically in Dover.

The state may want to use colored rails in the future. Holland had looked into alternatives to the galvanized steel guard rails. Terk thought that wooden guard rails would be the "more aesthetic option."

It was said that the state wants metal because wooden guard rails won't meet the same level of resistance as steel would.

"The state will not have anything to do with wood," Dover Town Administrator Nona Monis said.

She mentioned that the wooden guard rails have been known to increase damage in accidents.

If the board wants guard rails paid for by the state, it will need to take the state's recommendations.

At the end of the Highway Department report given by Holland, Buswell congratulated Holland and his crew for the last snowstorm, "for a job well done."

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.