Norwich, Montville consider fixing bridge

Montville-The Inland Wetlands Commission will hold a public hearing on May 16 meeting regarding the town's interest in working with Norwich to reconstruct a bridge between the two communities.

The bridge is located off of Montville and Leffingwell Roads and would be built over Trading Cove Brook. After a presentation by engineers at its Thursday evening meeting, the commission decided that the work could have a significant impact on the wetlands, necessitating a public hearing. Sections of the bridge were washed out in a 2007 storm and it has been closed since then.

Representatives from CLA Engineers, Inc., a civil engineering consulting firm hired by the town of Montville to design the bridge, described the work that would take place at the site and its potential environmental impact.

Bob Russo, a soil scientist with CLA Engineers, said that the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environment Protection has identified a protected species of freshwater mussel living in Trading Cove Brook.

Rather than conducting a study to determine whether the mussel population would be directly downstream of the construction work, CLA Engineers decided to proceed under the assumption that mussels would be affected.

That would involve building a dewatering enclosure around the construction area using cofferdams to create temporary walls and pumping water out of the enclosed area. Because excess sediment is harmful to mussels, that water would be routed through an area designed to filter out extra sediment.

That area would contain stone at its inlet and outlet and the water would flow through wood chips, which will pick up fine particles in the water. Russo said he feels confident that the dewatering setup will result in clean water flowing downstream from the work site.

The construction and dewatering system would actually be located in Norwich , but the resource it is designed to protect is in Montville . Russo and another CLA engineer, Brian Long, said that Norwich has not made a decision on whether or not to have a public hearing yet.

k.catalfamo@theday.com

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