Funding Approved for Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK – The reconstruction and widening of North Main Street and rehabilitation work on the Baldwin Bridge are two projects which were approved for financing at the Connecticut Bond Commission’s monthly meeting held on August 18.

The North Main Street project will reconstruct and widen the road from U.S. Route 1 to the Saybrook Junction Railroad Station, a 900 foot section of road.

The 20 foot wide roadway with two 10-foot lanes will be widened providing 11-foot wide travel lanes, an extension of the left turn lane to Route 1, and shoulders two feet wide.

“Traffic flow and safety for both motorists and pedestrians on North Main Street will be improved and the overall appearance of the area will be enhanced when this project is completed,” Representative Marilyn Giuliano, R-23rd District, who serves the communities of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, said.

A 5-foot wide concrete sidewalk on the west side of North Main will be constructed along with a 6-foot wide raised center median.

While Old Saybrook Selectman Bill Peace is hoping the streetscape portion of the project will “encourage people to walk, bike, and drive slowly,” he is concerned about the widening of the lanes.

“We are trying to get the state to paint narrower travel lanes, at one point they were putting in 14 foot lanes, now they are putting in 11 foot lanes but we are trying to get them to come down to ten feet,” Peace said, adding drivers are inclined to go slower in narrower lanes.

Ten foot lanes would be wide enough for all types of vehicles, Peace said.

Federal funding for the $665,000 project amounts to $532,000 while the state’s share is $66,500.

The town is expected to contribute $67,000, according to the annual Transportation Improvement Program report.

Work is expected to begin in spring 2008 with completion expected in late summer or early fall, Representative Giuliano said.

Giuliano said, “Although a small portion of the roadway will be affected, the work is essential and I’d like to thank the bond commission for approving the funding that will enable the town to move ahead with this important project.”

The project is a priority of the Old Saybrook Sidewalk Plan February 1, 2006 draft.

The Baldwin Bridge project will rehabilitate the bridge which carries Interstate 95 over the Connecticut River connecting Old Saybrook with Old Lyme.

“The work on the Baldwin Bridge is routine maintenance. There are no safety issues involved and the project will not impede traffic flow,” Giuliano said.

Julie Jordan, Principal Engineer of Bridge Design who works for the DOT, said the Baldwin Bridge project involves repairing cracks in the bridge by using a vacuum injection process.

“It is a little bit unusual,” Jordan said, for the work to occur on a fairly new bridge but she believes even during its construction the bridge had exhibited some signs of cracking.

This is the first time the vacuum injection process will be used on the Baldwin Bridge but Jordan believes the process was used in rehabilitating another bridge in Connecticut.

The rehabilitation work is expected to increase the life of this eight-lane 1993 bridge.

The Baldwin Bridge project is expected to begin in spring 2007 and be completed in the fall with the total cost of the work being $3,250,000.

Giuliano said federal funding totals $2,600,000 while the state’s share is $650,000.

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