NAUGATUCK — The longer Naugatuck waits, the more expensive it will be to repair the Whittemore Bridge on Maple Street.
At least, that is what history has proven.
The project, once estimated to cost about $4 million, is now double that at about $8 million, Public Works Director Jim Stewart said.
If there is a silver lining in the ongoing bridge saga, it’s that the borough plans to finally begin construction in the spring after about 10 years of delays.
Last month, officials put out a request for bid proposals from developers interested in the job. A pre-bid meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Jan. 26 at Town Hall.
The job is expected to take two years to complete. During construction, the bridge in the center of the community that separates the east and west sides of Naugatuck will only be open in one direction — to cars going east toward Route 8.
In the meantime, traffic going in the opposite direction will be detoured onto Water Street, Cedar Street, Meadow Street, Cherry Street, over the Salem Bridge and onto South Main Street.
While businesses in the area have expressed concerns about having traffic closed in one direction, Stewart said it’s not possible to leave both lanes open. Emergency responders have said that adding a temporary traffic light for emergencies could be an alternative.
Deputy Mayor Robert Neth, chairman of the Five Year Capital Committee that recommended funds for the project, said he’s looking to cut back costs and will consider whether to take out amenities from the original plan, such as adding brick pavers and old fashioned street lights to the sides of the bridge. That will be discussed at a later date, he and Stewart both said.
Stewart said the state Department of Transportation is funding half of the project’s cost.