Monday, April 28, 2008

The Tribe In The Media: Installation Of Sidewalks On Route 32

The following Norwich Bulletin article describes the tribe's most recent efforts to install a sidewalk along Route 32, the road used by many casino employees who walk to work. At least 3 deaths have been reported in recent years in what has become a dangerous artery for pedestrians:

Tribal Council, Montville Tackle Sidewalk Project
By Fran Morales
April 27, 2007

Mohegan - Grace Jackson drove by Mohegan Sun Friday. When she noticed the construction of a sidewalk alongside Route 32, she let out a sigh of relief.

After all, she knows the dangers of Route 32. Jackson’s 23-year-old son used to work as a dealer at Mohegan Sun.

“It’s about time,” said Jackson, an Oakdale resident, as she pumped gas at the nearby Shell Gas Station. “They should have created this a long time ago. If they know many of their employees walk to work, then they should create a safe way for their employees to get there.”

Pedestrian safety has been a growing concern for many residents, such as 21-year-old Brittany Bradham, a casino worker.

“I drive to work everyday and you can see, there is barely (any) space for them to walk (on Route 32),” said Bradham, a Norwich resident, who stopped to pick up her child from Mohegan Sun’s Lakeview Day Care Friday. “That’s why I’m always careful when I drive to work. I’m always afraid I’m going to hit them.”

The busy stretch of road has been the site of many accidents involving pedestrians, including a woman who was killed in September.


A 59-year-old pedestrian was the victim of a hit-and-run April 14. Fu Quan Liu of New York was walking within the designated crosswalk across Route 32 toward Sandy Desert Road in Montville when he was struck by a dark-colored sedan that ran a red light. Liu was rushed to The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich with serious internal injuries.

In light of recent events, employees have been offered reflective clothing such as armbands, and Mohegan Sun also is working on uniforms to make pedestrians more visible to a car at night.
The Tribal Council is picking up the cost of the estimated $2 million construction project.

The Mohegan Tribe has teamed up with the town of Montville to complete the construction project, which began last week and is expected to be finished by this summer.

“We are very excited to be working together,” said Chuck Bunnell, Tribal Council chief of staff. “We are hopeful the sidewalks on Route 32 will create a safer environment.”

The construction project will bring sidewalks that would connect with the existing sidewalk to Route 2A, ultimately passing Mohegan Sun to New London Turnpike.

In addition to the installation of the sidewalks, the Tribal Council will provide extensive lighting alongside Route 32 from the Norwich line to Golden Road, south of the Route 2A interchange.
“Hopefully this will help save some lives,” Jackson said.

See related Feather News article, along with local residents' comments to The Day article: