Rubber Avenue project pushed to next spring

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By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

NAUGATUCK — The reconstruction of a section of Rubber Avenue won’t start until at least next spring as state and local officials work to finish acquiring property and designs for the project.

The project will reconstruct about two-thirds of a mile of Rubber Avenue from the intersection of Melbourne and Hoadley streets to Elm Street. The project will include drainage improvements, and new sidewalks and landscaping along the road.

As part of the project, the four-way intersection of Rubber Avenue and Meadow and Cherry streets will be replaced with a “modern roundabout.”

Naugatuck Public Works Director James Stewart the start of construction has been pushed back to the spring of 2022. He said the state Department of Transportation is acquiring land for the project, which has taken longer than anticipated.

DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick said the state has to acquire 3,956 square feet of land on Rubber Avenue, 76 square feet on Cherry Street and 265 square feet on Meadow Street for easements for new sidewalks. The process to buy the land can take nine to 12 months, he said.

The borough is also finishing the final designs for the project. The DOT has to review and approve the plans because the project incorporates Route 63, a state road.

Stewart said about 60% of the design work is finished. Weston and Sampson Inc., a civil engineering firm out of Rocky Hill, is doing the designs.

The project is estimated to cost about $5.1 million. About $4.8 million will be paid for through the state’s Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program, according to Nursick. The borough will cover the rest.

The preliminary design for the one-lane roundabout at the intersection of Rubber Avenue and Meadow and Cherry streets showed a roundabout that is 120 feet in diameter with a raised island in the center.

“I’m hoping it’s going to improve traffic flow through that intersection,” said Stewart, adding the project is also designed to improve the aesthetics of the intersection.

Nursick said the DOT has constructed a couple dozen roundabouts in the last decade, including ones in West Haven, Seymour and Windsor Locks.

“They’re (roundabouts) very effective at moving traffic and reducing crashes,” he said.