Posted on October 25, 2018 by Greg MacKinnon
NEWTOWN – State Representative Mitch Bolinsky (R-106), has issued the following update on Connecticut Department of Transportation and state contractor road projects in progress:
“With the help of DOT and its contractors, we’ve assembled the following updated project information for your knowledge. I am pleased to report real progress on each and a couple nearing completion. Of course, the nature of infrastructure improvement is a never ending process and a couple of our larger projects are long-term and still on the horizon. In the end, I hope we all agree that temporary inconveniences resulting in noticeable improvements in traffic flow, capacity, reliability of adjacent utilities and, most importantly, our safety, are positive steps to help us navigate these areas in our cars, bicycles or on foot.”
For those with comments or further questions about the status of each of the infrastructure projects listed below, or any other inquiries relating to our state government, Rep. Bolinsky can always be contacted by e-mailing Mitch.Bolinsky@housegop.ct.gov or by calling (860) 240-8700.
Details on each State of Connecticut DOT project are below:
Resurfacing of Wasserman Way (SR 490 and SR 860)
Wasserman Way was scheduled for a major reconstruction in spring, 2018. Unfortunately, this was delayed by the Governor’s budget cuts and eventually was postponed by the state. Your Newtown delegation secured a commitment from the DOT Commissioners Office to do this much needed project in the spring of 2019.
However, out of concern for safety and seeing extensive deterioration of the roadway’s foundation, we requested extensive patching to hold the road together for one more winter. After its own inspection, the DOT, through the Commissioner’s office, decided the best way to preserve the roadway was to patch and do a complete overlay, which was completed long ago as a “temporary measure” for our safety.
We are grateful to Commissioner Redeker for his smooth-road solution to get us through to a more permanent reconstruction in spring, 2019. Stay tuned for more details.
Rt. 302 / Sugar Street Bridge Replacement, between Ram Pasture & The Pleasance
The replacement and widening of an unnamed bridge on Route 302 in Newtown, near Route 25 includes a new sidewalk, turn lanes to eastbound Rt. 302 and relocation of utilities. After a couple stops and starts, paving is underway as this is being written. Guardrail completion, landscape and detail are still on schedule for the original end-of-October, 2018 functional completion.
Relocation of Edmond Road at Rt. 6: Church Hill Rd. in Newtown
The realignment of Edmond Road will eliminate one of Newtown’s most crash-prone intersections, switching it to a 4-way intersection with Commerce Road and Church Hill Road.
There’s a lot of progress happening near I-84’s Exit 10, between the construction of a new shopping plaza and the relocation of Edmond Road. It’s been a painful process getting through there during construction. Between lane closures and antiquated traffic signal that were never synchronized to ease congestion, it’s frustrating to have to drive there in peak times.
Then, at the end of September, this project was almost delayed until spring 2019 by Eversource failing to relocate utilities to the new roadway location, despite the new bridge nearing completion and the relocated roadway approaching the “ready-to-lay the foundation” phase. Without utilities, there would be no way to install a new synchronized traffic control system. Fortunately, the project developer, a Newtown company, objected strongly and reached out to Newtown’s state delegation.
The result was an October 24, 2018 meeting including the developer, Rep. Bolinsky, DOT Commissioner James Redeker and DOT regional field management, during which this project’s priorities were “clarified” and a workable resolution, agreed upon. The new roadway foundation and first asphalt layer should be done by December 15, 2018. Although not quite the originally promised end-of-November, 2018 target, this will result in the project being completed and on-schedule for its original occupancy date.
Signalization details are still being worked out but, whether permanent or temporary, we expect improved traffic flow with the installation of a new, computer-synchronized traffic control system through the busy Church Hill Road corridor between Commerce and I-84. You can already see the new sidewalks taking shape, the new right-of-way cutting between Pizza Palace and the Citgo Station and the new bridge. Soon, you’ll see better defined turning lanes on Church Hill’s approach to the highway.
At this time, as stated above, the revised functional completion date is mid-December, 2018.
South Main Street (Rt. 25) / Pecks Lane / Prospect Lane Intersection Improvements
This state project will improve visibility, traffic flow and safety versus the old 5-way, triangular intersection where Pecks Lane and Prospect Drive come together with South Main Street, Rt. 25. South Main is being shifted, leveled and graded to increase sight lines and provide easier, extended passing opportunities for southbound Rt. 25 travelers and the confusing confluence of Pecks Lane and Prospect Drive is being removed in favor of a new, right-angle intersection of Pecks and South Main, just south of the existing jumble.
Work is progressing slowly and there’s one utility pole left to relocate before paving (yes, Eversource again) but paving is scheduled to begin November 5 and, barring weather delays, should be complete on or before the original mid-November, 2018 schedule.
Exit 11 Area Redevelopment (I-84 Ramp-System, Berkshire Road, Wasserman Way and Connection to Newtown Project to Improve Head of Toddy Hill Road at State Rt. 34)
This is a major, multi-phase project that involves a “Town of Newtown Phase” and then, a “CT DOT Phase” to commence when the town phase is nearing completion in the spring of 2019.
Work is progressing on the town’s replacement of the Toddy Hill Road Bridge, despite a small delay brought on by our terrible May 2018 storms. In spring of 2019, as the town’s work nears completion, the state will join forces to connect the new Toddy Hill Road to Rt.34 and then commence a two-year major reconstruction of the Exit 11 area and access points, creating a new, and second I-84 access point from Route 34.
This will divert about 60% of I-84 Entrance-Ramp traffic away from the existing Exit 11 access point at Wasserman Way and alleviate most of the congestion around the area bounded roughly by: Newtown High School; Berkshire Road (Rt. 34). at Wasserman Way and at Toddy Hill Road; Toddy Hill Road itself at its terminus with Rt.34; and the existing Exit 11 on and off ramps at their Wasserman Way terminus.
Underway, you’ve probably seen the extensive progress by Newtown on a new, modern “arch-bridge” at the top of Toddy Hill Road that will raise the road, increase visibility and add dedicated turn lanes for safer, easier, less time-consuming access to both directions of Berkshire Road (Rt. 34). Northbound Toddy Hill will eventually meet Berkshire Road with three lanes of traffic. One will turn right, toward New Haven and two will turn left, one leading to a supplemental, new I-84 access ramp and the other to Wasserman Way and the High School.
Spring of 2019, you’ll see visible signs of the state’s major redevelopment of the Exit 11 entrances. This work will also include improvements to Berkshire Road, Wasserman Way and the entrance to Newtown High School. It will include turn lanes and synchronized, digital traffic signals to coordinate and ease traffic flow but, most of all, it will relieve up to 60% of the left turning traffic from Rt. 34 to Wasserman way by introducing a new, direct-access I-84 “slip ramp”, before the bridge overpasses of Exit 11 at Berkshire Road.
A better-defined, wider left-turn lane and through lane will lead Berkshire Road to Wasserman Way and the High School. The High School will also have a dedicated left-turn lane and a through lane. Finally, the existing I-84 Exit / Enter ramp system will be have the hard curves straightened and there will be dedicated left and right turn-lanes at their Wasserman Way terminus.
This project is a game-changer and, although progress seems slow at the moment, the state DOT has been working for a couple years on things we do not always see to keep the completion of this major reconstruction project moving and, once digging begins, accomplishing the work in two-years. For instance, utility upgrades and relocations have already been mostly completed and right-of way acquisition is wrapping up with one final compromise agreement in principle.