MERIDEN — The Cooper Street bridge spanning Harbor Brook is expected to reopen Friday after reconstruction.
The project began in April 2021 and was expected to be completed in December, according to a notice from the city. The work was contracted out and the crews experienced some delays due to weather, City Manager Timothy Coon said Wednesday.
The contractor, LaRosa Construction, reported that some equipment couldn’t be used on bitterly cold days, which delayed the project slightly, according to Howard Weissberg, city public works director. The goal was to get it done right, not in a rush, he said. The project was years in the making, he added.
“It’s going to alleviate traffic congestion on the side streets, which has been light due to COVID,” Weissberg said Wednesday. “It will reduce travel times...and will help improve east to west connectivity.”
The project required closing Cooper Street between Meridian and Cherry streets. Access for residents and businesses was maintained. The work was part of the Harbor Brook flood control project. Weissberg said the previous opening under the bridge was extremely small, and the new bridge has much larger culverts in place. This will allow a storm water to pass through the area with fewer issues. Coon said he is glad the bridge will be opening.
“It will certainly improve the flow and help businesses in the area,” Coon said. “Ultimately it is part of the Harbor Brook project. It will facilitate the movement of flood waters through the area.”
There is still work to be done both downstream and upstream to control flooding, Weissberg said. The city opened bids on Tuesday for the next project, which will involve channel improvements from Hanover Avenue to Cooper Street, Weissberg said. That project will involve over a thousand feet of channel improvement including off-road trails, two parking areas for the trails, a new signal and crossing across Cook Avenue and Summer Street, he said. It is anticipated to be a two-year project.
“It is a very, very significant project,” Weissberg said. “It will have an extremely positive impact on flooding in (the Summer Street) area.
Once that section of trail is completed it will link to another trail section this summer so there will be full trail connectivity from the Cheshire town line to Cooper Street, Weissberg said.