After lengthy hiatus, Beacon Falls’ road could reopen this year

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SLR lead project engineer Tory Sidoti gives a presentation to Beacon Falls officials and residents at the Board of Selectmen meeting Monday evening. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

BEACON FALLS — The town is aiming to get Burton Road opened back up by the winter after it’s been closed for more than a year due to road failure.

The town on Dec. 24, 2020, closed the section of Burton Road from Wolfe Avenue to North Main Street to traffic due to structural issues and fears the road could fail. The closed section of the road, which has a sidewalk on one side and a stone wall on the other, goes over a brook that runs behind the Beacon Mill Village apartments. The road has shifted due to erosion of its foundation from the brook.

The state Department of Transportation has committed to give the town $2.9 million to fix the road through the Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program. The funds are administered by the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments.

SLR International Corp., a firm the town hires for engineering services, is working on the final designs for the project. SLR is doing the design and engineering work for the project at an estimated cost of roughly $300,000, which the town is responsible to cover.

The town will pay for the engineering costs with funds approved as part of a bond package for road repairs according to First Selectman Gerard Smith

SLR lead project engineer Tory Sidoti said the firm has finished a survey and 50% design submission last year. The firm is currently working through its 75% design submission before sending it to NVCOG and DOT to get final comments. The firm will have one more round with DOT for review before funds are released, he said during a presentation to about 17 residents in Town Hall on Monday evening.

The firm is anticipating the construction of the project will begin in the summer to have the road open by winter and the remainder of the project to be finished in the spring of 2023, Sidoti said.

The project is expected to include rehabilitating Burton Road from North Main Street to Highland Avenue, which will include a 26-foot-wide roadway, with two 11-foot travel lanes, a 2-foot shoulder on each side of the road with a full depth reconstruction of the road, Sidoti said.

The plan will have a reconstruction of sidewalks through the whole corridor on the south side all the way to Highland Avenue, a new crosswalk for pedestrians, reconstruction of some stone walls along neighboring properties, rapid flashing beacons for people to cross the street and the replacement of all the existing guide rail with new steel backed timber guide rail, Sidoti said.

“The main concern in this project is reconstructing the concrete retaining wall and opening the road back to the public so they can use that as a main artery to get back to the state road which is the main access to the highway for everyone in town,” Sidoti said.

The project also calls for the concrete retaining wall to be reconstructed and pushed back 5 feet with a form liner on the inside wall to give it an aesthetic look and the removal of the concrete island at the Highland Avenue intersection.

The firm plans to bring in the curb a little bit at the Wolfe Avenue intersection with a new radius and put a new pedestrian midblock crossing at the Maple Avenue intersection and narrow Burton Road between Maple Avenue and Highland Avenue while maintaining the 26-foot width, Sidoti said.

“We’re going to try to bring the stop bar down a little bit and able to make it an easier turning movement for vehicles as well as a safe way to for pedestrians to get across Maple Avenue in order to continue down the sidewalk,” Sidoti said.

Sidoti said the firm isn’t anticipating any necessary easements but will need some rights to reconstruct driveways and the stone walls along some of these properties.

The project will include some landscaping features due to having a lot of room between Maple Avenue and Highland Avenue, Sidoti said.