By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
BEACON FALLS — Officials on Christmas Eve closed a section of Burton Road until further notice to avert what First Selectman Gerard Smith described as a “disaster.”
Burton Road is closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic from Wolfe Avenue to North Main Street, but residents of the Beacon Mill Village apartments will still have access to a parking lot on the road.
This 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 apartments.
Smith said the culvert under the road and the foundation of the wall have been eroding for years, and the deterioration has gotten progressively worse over recent years. This has caused the road, wall and sidewalk to shift.
“We have a disaster that we’re averting,” Smith said.
Officials have known about the ongoing erosion and have inspected the road multiple times over the past decade, Smith said.
On Tuesday, Milone & MacBroom, a firm that provides engineering services for the town, inspected the road again. Smith said the inspection found the road has shifted nine degrees and there is cause for concern there could be a catastrophic failure.
“It’s deteriorated to the point that it’s now going to be a major failure,” Smith said.
Milone & MacBroom advised to close the road, Smith said.
The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted at a special meeting Thursday to close the road.
“I believe this is the only decision we can make at this stage,” Selectman Michael Krenesky said during the meeting.
Burton Road runs from North Main Street to Route 42. While the road is closed, traffic will be detoured along Church Street and Wolfe Avenue, Smith said.
How long the section of Burton Road will be closed, the extent of the repairs needed and when work will start are unclear.
Smith said Nafis and Young, the town’s previous engineering firm, put together a report on the road in 2018. That information will be given to Milone & MacBroom, which will determine if the report is up to date and come up with a plan on how to proceed with fixing the road, he said.
The project is expected to be a major one that fixes the issues with the substructures of the road as well as the road itself. Smith estimated the work could cost $2 million or more.
“There’s a lot of things going on with that road,” Smith said.
Officials said they plan to seek emergency federal and state funding for the project. Voters in August approved bonding up to $5 million for road work. Officials said they may also look into using some of these funds for the work.