Town Hall – Roundabout ‘No Problem’
by Jay Hobson
The roundabout outside town hall has been decried by some residents as being too small and in some cases unnegotiable by larger trucks opening the question to the ability of fire trucks to be able to make the turns.
Firefighter Paramedic and Public Information Officer Robert Horne said that the fire department’s trucks have no problem using the roundabout or making the tight corners
“Everyone thinks that it’s too small, but basically these things are designed by engineers and they certainly take into consideration emergency vehicles. We haven’t had any trouble with any of our fire apparatus getting around it. Not at all. In terms of 18 wheelers, the inside of the roundabout, if you look at the curb, it has soft curbs. They are actually designed so that if a truck needs to, it can actually ride over the curb,” Horne said.
Horne said that the purpose of a roundabout is to slow down traffic, whether it’s coming in to take a right or going all the way around.
“If they leave it wide, they aren’t going to slow down. Roundabouts are put in places where civil engineers determine whether a set of lights or whatever, something needs to be done., so slowing down traffic is its absolute purpose,” Horne said.
Horne said that a lot of people have made comments to the fire department about the roundabout.
“I’ll be in the convenience store buying a chocolate milk or something and people will recognize that I work for the fire department and they’ll ask about the fire trucks and the roundabout. If there was an issue with our equipment not being able to get around the roundabout, we’d be the first ones to get all over the state about it. The reason the center of the roundabout is so big, is so if there is a larger truck having an issue with negotiating it, it can actually ride up that curb. They don’t want anyone going through this thing fast, that would defeat the whole purpose,” Hone said.
Horne said that another purpose of the roundabout and the one that is being built where the old fire station was is that there are too many intersections.
“There’s too many roads coming into one area. If you’re coming up Marsh Road into the roundabout at town hall, you can take a right and avoid Old Bridge Street and it’ll make more sense when the other one (roundabout) is constructed. That one was supposed to be finished this summer, but there was a delay due to FairPoint. Continental had to stop progress on it so it’ll probably be done next year,” Horne said.
Horne said that the fire department’s largest truck has not had any trouble negotiating the roundabout.
“We’ve seen 18 wheelers go through there. Roundabouts are popping up all over New Hampshire. There’s really no problem,” Horne said.