Saying they’re concerned about starting a construction project so close to a major holiday as well as the date that asphalt plants shut down for winter, town officials voted Wednesday night to urge the state to put off a bridge replacement along Route 123 to next spring.
As it stands, the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s replacement of a box culvert just north of the state road’s intersection of Glen Drive would start Oct. 12 and continue for an estimated three weeks. The work will require closing Route 123 in both directions.
Yet the contractor on the job has itself asked for a delay because the materials for the culvert now won’t be available until Nov. 2, meaning any bad weather will delay the project into December, according to New Canaan Public Works Director Tiger Mann.
“So my thoughts and I believe the [New Canaan Police] Deputy Chief [John DiFederico]’s are is that we should ask the DOT to strongly recommend doing this project in the spring,” Mann told members of the Police Commission at their regular meeting, held via videoconference.
“It will also allow us time to help the residents that are directly affected by it, the ones that live directly adjacent to the work that have some concerns about the work and duration and timing of it as well. We are at a little bit of an impasse because it is a state road and they are allowed to detour onto our roads. But we can certainly have input saying that given the change in circumstances for this project, and the late start, we would recommend or strongly request a delay to a spring start.”
Commission Chair Paul Foley, Secretary Jim McLaughlin and Commissioner Shekaiba Bennett voted 3-0 to recommend the delay. The Police Commission is the “local traffic authority” in New Canaan, in the DOT’s parlance.
The Commission asked Mann when the asphalt plants close (on or around Dec. 14), whether the project would still take three weeks in the spring (yes, working 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. six days per week), and whether traffic would be detoured along Canoe Hill Road to Route 106/Silvermine Road (yes, that is the state’s preferred route).
“Our local traffic probably would take Country Club Road to Lambert or Country Club to [Route] 124,” Mann said. “Our residents would find a different path but the preferred detour, the signed signed detour from the DOT, would be Canoe Hill.”
Foley asked Mann to request of the state that a spring project be accelerated to working 24 hours per day for one week.
DiFederico said he backed the recommendation to push the project back to 2021.
“No time is ideal but this late date really changes things, in my opinion,” he said. “If we are getting close to major holiday and then with the asphalt plant closing and weather delays, it only makes sense to push it to the spring.”