By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
BEACON FALLS — With a commitment of funds in hand, officials are moving along with a project to reconstruct a section of Burton Road.
The town on Christmas Eve closed the section of Burton Road from Wolfe Avenue to North Main Street to thru 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 about $2.99 million to fix the road through the Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program. The funds are administered by the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments.
The project is expected to include rehabilitating Burton Road from North Main Street to Highland Avenue, reconstructing about 350 linear feet of a retaining wall, storm drainage improvements, and replacing catch basins and the guiderail.
The Board of Selectmen accepted the DOT’s commitment to fund letter at its Sept. 13 meeting.
It took a little longer than expected to get to this point. Local and DOT officials went back and forth over whether to remove the historic northern stone wall that runs along the road during the preliminary design stage.
“I think it was in our best interest to wait because we got the road fully funded and we didn’t have to touch the wall because it would’ve been more difficult and more expensive,” First Selectman Gerard Smith said.
SLR International Corporation, a firm the town hires for engineering services, is working on the final designs for the project. Smith said the designs are expected to be done by the end of the year.
SLR is doing the design and engineering work for the project at an estimated cost of $126,950, which the town is responsible to cover. Smith said the town will pay for the design work with funds approved last summer as part of a bond package for road repairs.
Officials plan to put the project out to bid over the winter. Finance Manager Natasha Nau said the bid process will take six weeks. Officials have to choose the lowest bidder under the LOTCIP guidelines, she said.
“I would let them start as soon as we have [a contract] signed, weather permitting” Smith said.
The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission will have to approve the project before it goes out to bid, Smith said.
Officials expect construction to start in the early spring, but are hopeful it could begin sooner.
“If we have a light winter, they can actually starting ripping the road down, whoever wins the award,” Smith said. “It’s definitely closed through the winter.”