Long-discussed bridge project moves forward

Among the new business discussed at the Nov. 15 Town Council meeting was an old topic in the community – the replacement of the Tomlinson Avenue bridge. Town staff recommended the long-talked-about project be awarded to the low bidder – Dayton Construction – and the council voted 7-0 to authorize the Town Manager to execute a Project Authorization Letter with the Department of Transportation.

Dayton Construction’s proposal was for $1,296,849.50, which is more than $100,000 less than the engineer’s estimate for the project. Also, it was pointed out that the Watertown company completed the replacement of another Plainville bridge – on Stillwell Drive – several years ago.

The Tomlinson Avenue bridge project involves the installation of a twin pre-cast concrete box culvert. 

According to the meeting minutes from Nov. 15, “Over 10 years ago the town secured a federal grant to pay for 80 percent of the cost of the replacement. Due to many factors, including bridge re-design and additional analysis required by the Corps of Engineers, the project was delayed.”

But things began moving this fall. On Oct. 21, nine bid proposals were received for the project.

The minutes from the Nov. 15 council meeting state the remaining cost of the bridge replacement – the town’s share, 20 percent – to be $308,156.

The current balance of the Tomlinson Avenue Bridge Fund is said to be $157,000. As stated in the meeting minutes, the remaining $151,158 needed for the project will be paid from the Town Aid Road account.

In 2016, Town Manager Robert Lee told The Citizen the state had rated the Tomlinson Avenue bridge as in poor condition since 2005. 

The initial bridge replacement design raised concern by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection because it did not permit fish to pass under the structure and into the nearby pond.

According to the DEEP, fish need to have the ability to travel without isolation from one end of a stream to another.

The new design will support aquatic life.

The current bridge, built in 1967, also has a flooding risk. Rehabilitation of the bridge will ensure that it doesn’t flood upstream or downstream.

Citizen report


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