Downtown Spared From Gridlock

Melissa Bailey PhotoTraffic was not nearly as bad as expected Thursday morning, when the city shut down Exit 2 on Route 34 and directed cars on alternate routes.

That’s the report from various safety officials on the scene Thursday, when the city conducted a major traffic shift associated with the Downtown Crossing Project, which aims to turn the Route 34 mini-highway into mixed-use developments that will knit downtown back together with the Hill neighborhood.

Closing Exit 2 was the third recent traffic reconfiguration as part of the project. In recent weeks, the city converted two blocks of George Street into a two-way street. And the city closed the hair-pin turn drivers used to be able to use to get off Route 34 Exit 1 and head towards State Street.

That second change caused traffic to back up as drivers puzzled over alternate routes.

Thursday’s change went smoother, according to city transit chief Doug Hausladen and public officials assigned to intersections around the area.

“The last few days, traffic has been backing up past the train tracks,” as cars get off of I-91 or I-95 onto Route 34, said Hausladen.

“This morning, people were getting through in one light cycle,” he said. “It was fantastic.”

Mike Esposito (pictured), a high-voltage splicer who works at United Illuminating, showed up at 8:45 a.m. on George Street, not far from the Exit 1 off-ramp, to jump into a manhole and hand up a splicer box to city officials working in the area. He watched the traffic from the street as he waited to finish his job.

“We thought it would be bad down here,” he said of the traffic. “It was moving at a good clip.”

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How was your commute to work? Post a comment below.

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posted by: DingDong on July 18, 2014  9:07am

My commute to work could benefit from more gridlock.  The only annoyance during my 15 minute walk is all the cars travelling at high speeds, running red lights and not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.  Some more gridlock would slow cars down and make more people take the train.

posted by: 32knot on July 18, 2014  9:38am

It is now very obvious that those that commute to NH via that route do not read the NHI because i can not believe that the morning commute was that smooth. At 0545 traffic was starting to stack up at exit 1.  When exits 2 and 3 were not closed traffic would take more than 2 light cycles to get thru at non rush hour times, like saturdays.

If the officials are saying no problems they need to spend more time observing, it is impossible to take 4 lanes of exits to 1 exit and not have delays. Wait until the summer is over and stand by for the first snow.

posted by: NoClovers on July 20, 2014  10:09am

@DingDong my drive could benefit from a lot less clueless pedestrians ignoring cross signals and walking into traffic on green lights; then being perplexed by cars are honking at them as they continue to text. Stay on the sidewalk cause a walking pace in the middle of 35 mph traffic doesn’t bode well