Roundabout partial opening ‘almost a fantasy’ to Windsor merchants
Businesses affected by the monthslong construction of a roundabout in downtown Windsor celebrated Friday afternoon the reopening of Windsor Road at Windsor River Road.
Workers have removed the barriers that stopped north and southbound traffic flow around the first quadrant of the $7 million roundabout project, construction on which began in August.
“It’s just been so long since they started that it’s almost like a fantasy that they were ever going to finish,” said Publican manager Barry Riggins, who took time out for the spontaneous explosion of happiness on the street organized by Beth Henry, executive director of the Windsor Chamber of Commerce.
Riggins said he was excited patrons could now get to his establishment, explaining that drivers previously had to detour through the Pohley’s Market parking lot to get to the pub due to the roundabout construction.
“These businesses have been infinitely patient and infinitely creative with the loss of foot traffic and the accumulation of dust,” Henry said. “All the businesses (in the Town Green area) have been impacted one way or the other.”
The intersection had been overwhelmed by traffic from the nearby high school, and the roundabout will “ease traffic congestion and beautify the downtown area,” she said.
The impetus of the roundabout was the need to prepare the streets for the incoming SMART train, Windsor Mayor Sam Salmon said. The project makes way for rebuilt railroad tracks running through the traffic circle to serve SMART. The completion of the $65 million Windsor train route extension has since been delayed indefinitely due to funding shortfalls.
The first of six stages of the roundabouts construction included new sidewalks, a median island, SMART train rail panels and asphalt pavement on Windsor Road. Workers also installed new storm drain pipes after several utilities were relocated. The old signal system was also replaced with a four-way flashing red light.
Work on the second phase will include demolition, removal and installation of curbs, gutters, sidewalks and paving along the southwest corner of the intersection, according to the town’s website. The intersection will be a four-way stop for the remaining construction stages.
Ben Chacon, whose Fruity Moto downtown cafe opened just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, was ecstatic about the new roundabout.
“It’s been tough watching vehicles pass our business,” he said. “The town has guided us all the way through. I’m just glad we are still here.”
You can reach Staff Writer Kathleen Coates at email@example.com or 707-521-5209.