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    Friday, September 22, 2023

    State pitches in to finish blueprint for Halls Road

    Old Lyme — Plans for a pedestrian bridge over the Lieutenant River and a trail system along Halls Road are being bolstered by a grant from the Connecticut Recreational Trails grant program.

    The $28,500 grant was part of roughly $9 million in awards announced last month by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) for 50 multi-use trails across the state, according to a news release from the agency.

    The Halls Road Improvements Committee said the award supplements a $135,000 grant from the town funded through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

    The state grant provides the funds needed to complete engineering designs for the pedestrian bridge and walking and biking paths on mostly town- and state-owned land between Halls Road and Lyme Street.

    The Board of Selectmen last month selected AI Engineers of Middletown to draw up the designs.

    DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said projects covered in the latest round of funding will enhance the state’s “outdoor economy.”

    “Investing in projects that support sustainable commuting opportunities, that reduce pollution from transportation, and provide safe, enjoyable alternatives to car travel are the type of projects we’d love to see in more communities across the state.

    The committee said the pedestrian bridge will “connect the commercial center of Old Lyme with its arts and historic districts.” The plan is part of a years-long initiative to transform the town’s main commercial thoroughfare into a livable, walkable and shoppable neighborhood center.

    A separate proposal from the committee to create an “overlay” district in the town’s zoning regulations was rejected in March. The district would have given developers the option to build apartments or condominiums not otherwise allowed on the street as long as they incorporate shops or restaurants on the first floor of any street-facing building.

    The committee said the conceptual engineering plan will need to be approved by the Board of Selectmen with community input. The completed designs will be the basis of future grant applications to fund construction.


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