UPDATE at 4:45 p.m.
Video of residents addressing their concerns at Wednesday night's informational meeting has been added in the gallery, as well as the state Department of Transportation's PowerPoint presentation during the talk and the session's handout.
The DOT's handout, which can be downloaded and printed out from the gallery, includes an insert for residents to fill out and mail in their comments/concerns regarding the intersection realignment project.
In addition to the state's materials, 's letter to the DOT — which was read aloud by Economic Development Director Art DeSorbo at the meeting — has also been scanned and posted in the gallery.
Responding to a barrage of comments, concern and criticism from the community, state Department of Transportation officials say they will now consider the possibility of rehabilitating East Haven's historic Farm River Bridge instead of its removal as part of its the Route 100/Route 1 intersection.
During Wednesday night's public informational session at the Senior Center, Susan Libatique, who serves as the project's manager, told the more than 40 residents who attended the meeting that the DOT will now be "looking into the possibility" of rehabilitating the bridge, which sits next to the historic Old Mill.
"We do recognize that there are two historic properties in the area and we are going to be giving them consideration," Libatique said.
In Poor Condition
The current bridge, which was built with stone masonry in 1876 and reinforced with concrete in 1900, has been identified as being in poor condition.
The original crossing over the Farm River was a wooden bridge built in the mid-1600s in the same spot.
State DOT officials said Thursday night their concerns about the bridge's deteriorating state have lead them to place the structure on an heightened inspection schedule.
The bridge is now on a 12-month special inspection schedule. The standard inspection schedule is every two years.
In addition to preserving the bridge and Old Mill, residents voiced their concerns during the meeting on a variety of issues associated with the project including:
- the effect the one-year-long detour, and possible two years of partial lane closures, would have on businesses in the area
- pedestrian safety issues related to the sidewalks and crosswalks proposed as part of the project
- the effect narrowing the Route 100 roadway would have on the safety of vehicles, in particular school buses, traveling along the realigned street
- the project's effect on the Farm River and the possibility of increasing the frequency and extent of flooding in the area
- lack of local planning & zoning/wetlands oversight of the project
The DOT is proposing an "intersection realignment" of Route 100 (Main Street) at U.S. Route 1 (Saltonstall Parkway), which sits directly across from the .
According to the state, the purpose of the project "is to provide safety and traffic operational improvements" at the Route 100/U.S. Route 1 intersection.
This would include replacing the Farm River Bridge (state Bridge No. 01665), which has been "identified to be in poor condition." The National Bridge Inventory Database also has the bridge listed as currently "structurally deficient."
A color PDF of the preliminary plans is posted in the gallery that accompanies this article.
The project's preliminary plans currently calls for the Main Street approach to Route 1 to be removed.
In its place, the state would construct two new lanes:
- A left and right turn lane
- And a right-turn-only lane
Libatique said the there would also be a "little bit of widening" and raising of the Route 100 roadway at it approaches Route 1.
The DOT has also proposed concrete sidewalks that would extend back to just east of Deborah Lane, which state officials said they did at the town's request.
Libatique noted last night the project currently is only in the preliminary design stages. And that the department would consider and weigh Town Hall's and the public's input before it settles on its final plan.
"Nothing will be finalized until we have a chance to hear your comments," Libatique said.
She added that the project will be open for comments from the public until May 25.
Anyone wishing to discuss the project may contact Timothy M. Wilson at (860)-594-3189 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plans are also available for review at the . And Libatique said addition reports related to the project would soon be made available at Town Hall and/or the Hagaman Memorial Library.
[Editor's Note: Late Thursday morning, state DOT officials told East Haven Patch that the Farm River Bridge is on a 12-month special inspection schedule, not a four month schedule as originally reported. The article has been edited to reflect the correct time period.]