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Bristol Ferry Road Diet Workshop Tonight

Should lanes be eliminated on Bristol Ferry Road?

The Portsmouth Town Council will hold a workshop tonight to discuss a potential "road diet" for Bristol Ferry Road that would reduce the number of travel lanes on the busy thoroughfare to address safety concerns.

Officials from the state Department of Transportation will be on hand to hear from the public about the proposed plan (see attached .PDF).

The plan would eliminate a travel lane in both directions on the road from Turnpike Avenue to Boyds Lane and the extra space would be used to create a turning lane.

The state DOT used accident data to determine that many of the 48 crashes between 2008 and 2012 on the road could have been prevented with lane reductions. About 70 percent of the crashes could be attributed to rear-ends, angle and same direction sideswipe collisions.

Other crashes were the result of head-on collisions and from cars turning out onto Bristol Ferry Road from side streets and  "The installation of a road diet may help reduce the chance for these [crashes] since the new lane configuration will provide more separation" between cars in lanes and the edge of the roadway.

Some residents are opposed to the plan for a variety of reasons, including the potential to snarl traffic with less travel lanes and concerns that the road diet would occur after possible tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge, which would increase traffic on Bristol Ferry Road as people try to circumvent the toll.

DOT officials said the plan won't go into effect if there is major opposition from the town.

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