WALLINGFORD — Local business owners say a state project to replace a bridge on Center Street has halted for the time being. The project engineer says the bridge replacement is still scheduled to be finished by next fall.
Kalpesh Rana, owner of Global Foodmart, a convenience store under construction at 570 Center St., and Vinny Iannuzzi, owner of Vinny’s Deli, 567 Center St., said there has been no visible work on the bridge for the last two months. Iannuzzi said he has been told work will resume in spring once the state Department of Transportation redesigns sewer lines.
Anil Sehgal, a DOT project engineer, said despite the current lull the project is still scheduled to be completed November 2018. Sehgal said the project is on track and will be finished within the timeframe the state initially set out.
Center Street runs along Route 150, a state highway, meaning the DOT is responsible for maintenance. The bridge, built in 1914, was previously deemed structurally deficient.
Iannuzzi, whose business is next to the bridge, said he believes the $6 million state-funded project, which began in April 2016, could take up to five years from start to finish.
“I think it’s a realistic possibility. It could go another two, possibly three years,” Iannuzzi said.
Sehgal previously told the Record-Journal that a 32-month timeline is not unusual for such a project. The new bridge will be about 13 feet longer and one foot wider than the old bridge, and it will have sidewalks on each side. It is being replaced in two sections to maintain traffic.
Police Chief William Wright acknowledged the inconvenience of driving through the area, but he said he was looking forward to the final product once construction is completed. "We look forward to that becoming a full-width travel area again," he said.