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Excavation underway got underway last week at the edge of the Branford green from a point on Montowese Street to one continuing along South Main Streets.
First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove said the work is being done as a result of a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant.
“A STEAP grant was awarded to the town for replacing the blacktop sidewalk along Montowese, then also turning down South Main and going down to about Eades Street,” said Cosgrove, adding some “slight cross walk improvements,” are also included in the project design.
The STEAP grant was awarded in Dec. 2011, when Gov. Dannell P. Malloy came to the steps of Town Hall to announce Branford had won a $150,000 grant to complete pedestrian walkway and lighting around the green.
Cosgrove said no lighting is being installed at this time. The new walks that are being installed will be “paver” sidewalks, similar to paver walks of the same brick-red type installed alongside the main green on Montowese and Main Streets.
As part of the project, a lengthy stretch of entirely new sidewalk will be added to extended pedestrian access along South Main Street. Grass and turf were being dug up last week on South Main Street as the new walks were carved into those edges of the green.
The Sound asked Cosgrove if any existing trees in the project area might be impacted by the new walks.
“The layout for the sidewalk was set in a way to try to eliminate disturbance to the existing trees,” said Cosgrove. “Before the contractor started excavation, the Town Engineer and Town Tree warden looked at the proposed layout, and it was the opinion of the Town Tree warden (that) the amount of disturbance in those areas wouldn’t impact the trees.”
During that review, said Cosgrove, an Ash tree in the construction area was found to possibly be suffering from infestation of a beetle known as the Emerald Ash Borer.
“It’s a bug impacting a lot of Ash trees, so we are having a tree specialist looking at that,” said Cosgrove.