NAUGATUCK — The first phase of the Naugatuck Pedestrian Greenway should be complete by the end of the fall, officials are projecting.
“It’s nice to see construction moving ahead again,” Borough Engineer Wayne Zirolli said.
The start of spring construction was delayed while the public works and engineering departments waited for state approval to tear down an asbestos-coated steel retaining wall, which holds up Route 8 near Linden Park.
After removing the wall, construction of a concrete wall, which will support a walkway overlooking the Naugatuck River, will begin, Zirolli said.
The construction has forced the closure of the Route 8 southbound entrance ramp at Exit 28, although drivers can still use the ramp down the street at Exit 27. The Exit 28 ramp, nearest to the General Pulaski footbridge, should be closed for about 10 weeks, according to James Stewart, director of public works.
The workers need the ramp for access to build the walkway and cantilevered wall, Zirolli said.
“The best thing was to shut it down so they have plenty of room to work and not be disturbed by cars going by,” Zirolli said.
Phase One of the greenway will connect the footbridge to the borough’s downtown. Before the asbestos-coated wall was discovered, the project budget was $2.2 million, with all but $43,000 coming from state grants.
The borough and its contractor, Guerrera Construction of Oxford, are moving ahead with the project to take advantage of this construction season, although the state has not released reimbursement funds for the removal of the retaining wall, Zirolli said.
“We know we’ll get it,” Zirolli said. “It just may take a while.”
The footbridge has already been sandblasted and repainted, and the sidewalks at the other endpoint on Maple Street have been redone, with benches installed. The borough also applied earlier this year to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for about $143,000 to design the second phase, which would run the path up to the Waterbury line.
The greenway is planned to eventually run along the river from the Waterbury border to the Beacon Falls town line. It is part of a larger project to connect 44 miles of greenway along the river from Torrington to Derby.