Following a recent increase in the number of serious motor vehicle crashes on U.S. Route 4 in the Hartford-Woodstock area, including four fatalities in recent months, Gov. Peter Shumlin today announced that the Agency of Transportation will install portable message boards reminding drivers to be alert and focus on safety, pave deteriorated stretches of the roadway surface, install centerline rumble strips in appropriate areas, conduct an engineering review to determine what further safety treatments may be warranted, and work with local officials on proposed improvements.
"My heart goes out to the families of those injured or killed on Route 4, or any other Vermont road," Gov. Shumlin said in an afternoon stop at the Hartford Police Department, with Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell, Rep. Alison Clarkson, AOT Deputy Secretary Sue Minter, and others. "We will work with communities in this area to determine what safety measures make sense for Route 4. I also remind people to drive with caution and stay alert to prevent accidents."
"The lives of our citizens are at stake," said Sen. John Campbell. "Our obligation is to act now."
Gov. Shumlin and Minter met with local emergency and town officials, including Hartford Police and Fire Chief Steve Locke and Woodstock Town Manager Phil Swanson, to discuss the increase in Route 4 accidents. The Governor outlined the state's short-term assistance, including safety signage and paving, and pledged to work with local officials and emergency staff as conversations about longer-term solutions move forward. Gov. Shumlin said it's not clear why Route 4 has been the scene of an unusually high number of accidents this spring, but if structural changes are needed, that will be determined and work will be scheduled.
"I cannot stress enough how important it is for drivers to slow down and pay attention on this road," Gov. Shumlin said. "And as we head into summer, that need for caution extends across the state."