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MERIDEN — The Columbus Avenue bridge project, part of the city’s ongoing flood control effort, was put out to bid Thursday. If bids come in under budget, work could begin early next year.
The bridge over Columbus Avenue, although small, causes significant flooding in the area between Columbus and Cook Avenue, said Dwight Needles, chairman of the Flood Control Implementation Agency.
“The bridge is currently the real bottleneck of everything downstream of the Hub,” Needles explained. “Everything up to the area of Cook Avenue and even the police station, there was (water) backup that far.”
Bids on the project are due Dec. 4. The city has $1.1 million in state funds for the work.
The city began correcting flooding issues along Harbor Brook in the mid-1990s. In 2012, the city obtained permits for flood retention work at the Hub and in the area of Falcon Field. Bridges along Bradley, Coe and Cook avenues, all of which run over Harbor Brook, have been replaced in recent years.
The Columbus Avenue bridge will not be replaced. Instead, an overflow culvert will be constructed along the side of the bridge.
During significant rain storms and when the level of Harbor Brook is high enough, water will flow through the culvert, Needles said. The rest of the time, the culvert will be dry.
The work is expected to last a year and could begin as soon as January, said Director of Public Works Robert Bass.
The culvert also doubles as part of the Linear Trail project, Needles said. Now extending from Cheshire to Platt High School, the city’s goal is to extend the trail to the downtown Hub. When constructed, walkers and bikers will be able to travel over the culvert.
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