Streetscape project moves forward after stalling out

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The southbound lane of South Main Street in Beacon Falls was torn up in preparation for a new walkway, but not much work has been done in the past month. - LARAINE WESCHLER

BEACON FALLS — After years of planning, the streetscape project in downtown Beacon Falls finally got off its feet in late July, only to stumble a few weeks later.

No work had been on the walkway, which will run from Depot Street Bridge south to the intersection of Route 42 and South Main Street, for the past month until Tuesday.

First Selectman Susan Cable said she called Dayton Construction Company of Watertown Monday and told them if she didn’t see them there the following day, she would call their bond.

“I am extremely disappointed. I have never seen such nothing work,” Cable said.

After her call, Cable said workers were back on the scene Tuesday, doing some backfilling and moving the soil.

The project must be completed before the onslaught of winter makes it impossible to work on roads. Cable said she expected a timeline next week, with the project deadline still set for Dec. 15.

Cable said the project first stalled when construction workers found soil with oil in it that had to be tested. However, the company quickly got permission to remove the soil and hasn’t done so, Cable said.

She said Dayton told her the state was holding up the process because it was testing the base of lamps, but the state said there was no problem.

“Tomorrow, I’m meeting with all these excuse people and telling them to cut the chase and get it done,” Cable said Monday. “There’s no real reason why it stopped.”

Cable said the communication between the town, Dayton Construction, Luchs Consulting Engineers of Meriden, and the state has been horrible.

Cable said she didn’t care whose fault it was that the project stopped.

“All I care about right now is they got the message from the First Selectman’s office,” Cable said.

Dayton Construction was the lowest bidder for the project, met all the state’s criteria, and came with good recommendations, Cable said.

Despite the delay, the project is still on budget, but little work has been done, Cable said. The state Department of Transportation’s original overall budget for the project was about $1.025 million with the town picking up about $205,000 of that cost.

The pathway, which will eventually run from Thomaston to Derby as part of the Naugatuck River Greenway, will feature bricklike pavement with a lookout over the river with trees and ornamental lampposts lining the walk.

Once the project is complete, the two southbound lanes will be reduced to one lane and a pedestrian crosswalk will cover the intersection of Route 42 and South Main Street.

A message left with Dayton Construction seeking comment was not returned as of press time.