Boom Bridge Road bridge plan presented

North Stonington - After years of failed scenarios and false starts, another plan for the future of the Boom Bridge Road bridge was presented to residents last week.

The bridge, whose name is spelled as one word in one state and two in the other - some tell stories of the days when paint jobs would stop halfway at the state line down the middle - has been out of service since 2008. Now, construction of a replacement bridge that will connect North Stonington with Westerly over the Pawcatuck River once again is slated to begin in the spring of 2015.

Brian McGovern, project manager from engineering firm TranSystems, said the 120-foot, two-span bridge suffered excessive corrosion of its steel beams, which act as the main supports for the roadway.

In one of the beams, McGovern said, you can stick your head through a sizeable hole. "That is the impetus driving this project," he said.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation has retained consulting firm Close, Jensen and Miller PC to coordinate bridge design activities between North Stonington and the DOT for its Federal Local Bridge Program, as well as coordinate with Westerly.

The project, which should take nine months to complete, is projected to cost $2.8 million. Eighty percent will be covered by the federal fund, and the towns will pay 20 percent of the cost. North Stonington's share is projected to be $560,000.

The spring 2015 construction start date will depend on the availability of funding, getting the requisite permits - including from the local Inland Wetlands Commission, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - successful utility relocations and the receipt of all required property easements from the property owners adjacent to the bridge.

The new 122-foot bridge with a 24-foot roadway will be a single-span steel girder bridge and will require 600 feet of roadway construction. It will include an improved guide rail and better drainage to address any storm runoff.

The current bridge, according to First Selectman Nicholas Mullane, was constructed in 1968 as a joint project between North Stonington and Westerly. It was an improvement over the materials used in the bridge before it, but was not maintained properly over the years, he said.

With one lane in each direction, the bridge's traffic averaged at 450 vehicles a day.

The new bridge will use materials to prevent the same rusting that eroded this bridge, along with better-quality pavement.

a.isaacs@theday.com

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