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Norwich officials to discuss Sherman Street bridge replacement Tuesday

Norwich — A $13 million project to replace the two Sherman Street bridges over the Yantic River and adjacent former canal isn’t slated for construction until 2022, but city Public Works Department officials will explain the project at a public forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

The project calls for replacing both nearly 65-year-old bridges, realigning the intersection with Asylum Street and relocating the one sidewalk over the bridge to the south side rather than the north side of the road.

The project is being funded with 80 percent federal dollars, 10 percent state money and a 10 percent city match, Public Works Director Patrick McLaughlin said.

The bridge, known locally as the Canada Bridge, has deteriorated over the years as the city, state and federal transportation officials worked on various designs for the bridge. One earlier plan was rejected that would have moved the bridge more significantly to the north.

Temporary repairs have been made to the pavement and sidewalk, and barriers have been erected on the south side to shift vehicles and pedestrians away from the worst section of the bridge, Norwich city engineer Brian Long said.

In 2015, the Public Works Department downgraded the weight limit over the canal bridge from 20 tons to 10 tons — allowing short-box delivery trucks, snowplows and school buses, but not 18-wheeler trucks or large, heavy cranes.

At Tuesday’s meeting, to be held in Council Chambers at City Hall, city officials will give an overview of the project and the time schedule for residents, business owners, commuters and the general public.

Long said shifting the Sherman Street-Asylum Street junction slightly would eliminate a sharp right turn that travelers now must make from Sherman Street entering Asylum Street.

Shifting the sidewalk to the south side of the bridge “makes more sense,” he said. Crosswalks will be painted on Sherman Street at the Asylum Street intersection and on Sherman Street on the opposite end of the bridges near the entrance to the Upper Falls Heritage Park.

Construction is not expected to start until spring of 2022, but additional interim repairs to the crumbling sidewalk will be done shortly, Long said.


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