The new stop signs stolen from July 10 from the intersection of Windham Center Road and Pope Road have been replaced.

The stop signs, approved by the Town Council June 28 and installed on Windham Center Road July 7, created a four-way intersection with Pope Road and Ward Road. The signs were meant to alleviate traffic concerns at what some residents feel is a dangerous intersection.

Early last Sunday morning, the stop signs were stolen, according to a statement from the Windham Police Department.

“It’s important to maintain proper signage for safety reasons,” said Police Chief Kevin Schofield, “and to allow people to get acclimated to the change. This is a significant change in the traffic pattern, so we’re trying to make sure it’s signed as best we can.”

Someone is making that job a little more difficult with the recent theft.

To help “educate the public on the traffic change,” Schofield said, the town is exploring flashing stop signs or a temporary digital road sign (often used to write messages that monitor speed or communicate traffic concerns) to help draw motorists’ attention to the changes.

Town Manager Tony Plante said the costs for replacing the signs, including materials and manpower, will be about $500.

The police announced the theft Sunday afternoon, saying tongue-in-cheek that the perpetrator was “apparently upset with the recent addition of the stop signs.”

However, the majority of comments on the department’s Facebook page have been in support of the change, saying it will help calm traffic at a dangerous intersection. A few residents who made appeals to the Town Council before the council approved the signs said visibility at the intersection is poor and traffic on Windham Center Road tends to speed.

Schofield also said his officers have “shared feedback they’ve received in person from the public that’s been very positive. It appears as though it’s a welcome change for the community.”

Whether it was someone disgruntled with the new traffic pattern or something else, Schofield was “happy to say” that theft of street signs is not very common.

“Someone removing a stop sign is extremely dangerous,” he said. “It’s a very serious situation.”

The police have asked anyone with information regarding the theft to contact the department at 892-2525. Earlier this week, the department had not received any tips regarding the theft.

New stop signs on Windham Center Road, above, were stolen early Sunday morning. The signs have since been replaced, and motorists are expected to observe the new traffic pattern.


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