SOUTHINGTON – Town leaders are planning for a bridge replacement that’s more than a year away but will require the closure of Marion Avenue over Humiston Brook.
Keith Hayden, Public Works director, said the bridge will be shut down for two weeks in the spring of 2021. That approach speeds construction and avoids alternating one-way traffic on the bridge for several months.
“There are several good detour routes,” Hayden said. “I think it’s a lot less intrusive both for the neighbors and for the traveling public.”
He said the best detour routes are being discussed with Police Department.
Town leaders had an information session on the work for neighborhood residents earlier this month. While the project is a long way off, Michael DelSanto, a Town Council member and public works subcommittee chairman, said it will affect people in the area.
“It’s going be an inconvenience for a lot of folks,” DelSanto said.
Hayden said the bridge’s substructure was rated poor in 1990 and it has been expanded at least once. Concrete is spalling, there’s exposed rebar and the river has undermined it. The bridge is “long overdue” for replacement, according to Hayden.
A grant through the state Department of Transportation will provide the town with $1.2 million to construct the bridge. The town is paying $188,125 to design the new bridge and that work is about 30 percent complete.
Closing the road also allows construction crews to more easily bring in the crane that will put the new bridge in place.
The driveways of adjacent properties will have changes as a result of the construction and the new bridge ramp layout. The four neighbors of the bridge couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.
During the meeting with area residents, Hayden said the options of closing the bridge for a short period or leaving it open and alternating traffic for the summer were presented. He said neighbors understood the reasoning for a bridge closure to speed construction.
“Once we explained it to them, they received it very well,” Hayden said.
There will be work leading up to and following the two-week closure. Paul Chaplinsky, a Town Council member and public works subcommittee vice chairman, said the entire project will last from spring of 2021 until the fall.
“There’ll be prep work beforehand and finishing up work, grading, afterwards,” he said.
Construction won’t start until the town receives permits from a host of agencies, including the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Hayden said the town also needs construction easements to do the work. All the approvals are a prerequisite for state funding.
“We have to have all the rights of way in place and all the permitting in place before we get approval for the construction funds,” he said.