Town, DOT Moving Forward on Main Street Bridge

CHESTER - With the goal of keeping the planning and construction of the Main Street bridge moving forward, the Board of Selectmen has approved a $4,080 appropriation for planner Brian Kent, on behalf of the town, to sit down with state Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives and engineers to discuss the details and coordination issues involved in the bridge design and that must still be resolved between the town and the state department.

First Selectman Ed Meehan told the selectmen earlier this month that the DOT engineers expect the bridge design to be essentially complete by the end of May. At that point, the state would be prepared to select materials and the town and its Main Street Project Committee has developed a list of materials they wish to use not just for the bridge reconstruction, but for the long-term design for the downtown area.

"DOT has its own standards for materials and those are not negotiable, but in other areas they can cooperate with us. This appropriation will cover the costs of the time Kent spends with DOT, their consultants, and our committee. He will be spending most of his time, I think, with the DOT consultant to show him the designs for Chester downtown. Our goal is to keep this bridge project moving forward," Meehan said.

The funds for the appropriation will come from the state's 2009 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP).

The discussion with DOT is expected to include issues such as the use of granite curbing and information on any new material requirement or specifications for sidewalks. The list also includes recommendations for the bridge's curbing and railing, and for the size and surface treatments for the bridge end blocks. Street lighting designs and locations as well as the specifications, details, and locations for street furniture will also need to be determined.

Within the work area of the bridge reconstruction, the town and DOT will need to agree on which items are to be salvaged and a location for this material to be stored during the life of the project. The items would include trash receptacles, benches, information board, planters, and granite curbing, among others.

The town and DOT will also need to confirm the road closure period. Originally, the town's request called for closing the road right after Jan. 1, 2016 with a reopening before Memorial Day. The schedule was recommended by the town after discussions with downtown businesses. Another issue to decide is the contractor's allowable work periods.

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