NAUGATUCK — Joe Soucy saw an excavator and a truck roll down Edward Street on Monday morning and rejoiced.
“Holy crap, I’m going to get my driveway back,” said Soucy, 34, who lives at 132 Aetna St. with his 2-year-old son.
Workers from Ocean Trace Development Corp. in Watertown on Monday demolished a detached garage that appeared in danger of collapsing into Edward Street, a one-way road connecting Aetna Street and Rubber Avenue. Edward Street reopened Tuesday.
Edward Street has been closed since siding began falling off the garage during Hurricane Sandy in October. The closure has inconvenienced a block of Aetna Street residents whose homes back up to Edward Street.
The news was welcome for Soucy, who said the road behind his house has become a haven for teens who vandalize his property. Police used to drive down the street every night, Soucy said, but patrol cars have not been able to access the closed road, which is screened from Rubber Avenue by a layer of trees. Soucy also said a street light that should illuminate the area has gone out.
Broken glass lay in the street Monday morning, the remains of a fish tank that Soucy said he had left outside his back door Sunday after cleaning it. Soucy also said his lawn ornaments had been destroyed.
Aetna Street residents have had to park in front of their houses since Edward Street closed, rather than using their driveways and garages in back. At one point, Soucy said, vandals pushed an arbor onto his 2012 Nissan Versa, scratching it.
When it snows, a parking ban requires people across the street to park on Soucy’s side of the road, causing a crunch of space that was never a problem when Edward Street was open.
“It’s brutal,” Soucy said.
High winds last week caused more damage to the garage two doors down, behind 122 Aetna St., Director of Public Works James Stewart said.
“More of the siding came off, but it didn’t look structurally any worse,” Stewart said.
The house — and possibly the garage — was built in 1897 and is owned by Ismael Rivera Jr., whom borough officials have not been able to locate.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses voted last month to pay Ocean Trace $12,000 to knock the garage down, calling it a threat to public safety. The company will not be paid until inspectors conclude the job has been done to the borough’s satisfaction, and the borough will recoup the money by placing a lien on the property.
Workers were not able to test the garage for asbestos due to its instability, so the demolition was done according to a work plan that requires the whole garage be taken away as asbestos-containing material, Stewart said. The borough’s building department will test the air after the demolition is complete for traces of asbestos or other contaminants, Stewart said.