Colchester officials consider Route 2 speed limit following fatal crash

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 4:58 PM EDT
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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - Town leaders in Colchester are considering asking state officials to review the speed limit on a stretch of Route 2 following a fatal crash that killed a 64-year-old woman last month.

Changes could be coming to a stretch of Route 2 between Colchester and Milton after local residents are demanding answers. “These people think it’s an interstate. They’re going well over the speed limit -- sometimes 60, 70, 80 mph,” said Mark Nelson of Williston.

“A lot of speeding, people texting while driving, trying to pass in a non-passing zone. The speed limit has got to be lowered,” said Ruth Waite of Milton.

The current speed limit on Route 2 between Jasper Mine Road and the Lamoille River Bridge is 55 mph. That’s because it was designated as a limited access highway.

Colchester Police Chief Doug Allen Tuesday addressed the local selectboard to express community concerns. “It was really generated from the tragic crash we had about five weeks ago -- a local resident lost her life,” Allen said.

The June 22 crash took place when a 64-year-old woman attempted to pull out of a side street and was hit by two cars coming from opposite directions. The selectboard has proposed several fixes, including lowering the speed limit to 40 mph, installing rumble strips before intersections, and installing flashing lights to warn drivers of upcoming intersections.

Police say a woman was killed in a three-vehicle crash in Colchester June 22
Police say a woman was killed in a three-vehicle crash in Colchester June 22(Courtesy: Rob Swanson/The Islander)

According to the Colchester Police, there have been 125 crashes on that stretch of road in the past decade, with almost 40% resulting in some form of injury -- including one fatality.

Vermont Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn fears that changing the speed limit may not have an impact on driver behavior. “The road is not designed for 40, it is designed for a higher speed. I think what would happen is you’d end up with more people exceeding the posted speed limit, which in the end doesn’t change what occurs out there unless there’s enforcement to go with it,” Flynn said. He says addressing the situation can’t start until the selectboard makes a concrete proposal. “We would run radar, we would get exact speed data on a set of vehicles and engineers would review that. And depending on what the town was requesting, we’ll take that into consideration. We’ll take the engineering report into consideration and ultimately make a decision on whatever it is they ask.” Flynn says there are just under 4 million cars a year passing through that area.

In the meantime, Chief Allen urges drivers to slow down and pay attention.

Related Story:

Woman killed in Colchester crash

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