Published February 25. 2013 10:00AM Updated February 25. 2013 4:11PM
Mystic - A 54-hour closure of the Mystic drawbridge is tentatively slated to begin during the first week of March, a state Department of Transportation spokesman said this morning.
Originally scheduled to close for the weekend starting March 1, Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce President Tricia Walsh said state Sen. Andrew Maynard worked with the DOT to get a new date and better accommodate businesses already working through intermittent bridge closures and the work surrounding a streetscape project.
Walsh said this morning that she thought March 11 was the start date for the closure. But Carl Nelson, a district engineer with the DOT, said March 6, a Wednesday, is the tentative date.
Avoidign a weekend closure is good news for downtown merchants, who Walsh said were dismayed by the DOT's original plans to close the bridge on another weekend.
"That created a huge issue for our downtown merchants," Walsh said at Monday's Mystic Cooperative Task Group meeting. "The businesses couldn't handle another weekend shut down."
Another 54-hour closing of the drawbridge is expected to take place before the state bridge repair project is completed in mid-April. The streetscape project is expected to be completed sometime in May with items such as railings, trash receptacles and benches yet to be installed.
Work to repave several roads on the Stonington side of Mystic, including Cottrell and Holmes streets, will begin in March, sometime after St. Patrick's Day, Stonington officials said.
Walsh said with some recent and planned store closings there will be five vacant downtown storefronts formerly occupied by Studio Jeffery P'an, Catherine M, Webster Road, The Cooper Shoppe and Whyevernot.