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Early work on Plumtrees Road bridge replacement ahead of schedule

Work is moving quickly in Bethel on the Plumtrees Road bridge replacement, now that it’s underway.  The $2.4 million project is being paid for mainly with federal funding.  The busy and narrow intersection is being turned into an “x” shape where it meets Walnut Hill Road and Whittlesey Drive.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says dedicated right and left turn arrows to help move traffic along.


Brush and tree cutting started in March and ground was broken last month.  The current bridge will remain open during construction because a bypass is being built.  The north bridge abutment and culvert system is currently under construction, part of a temporary bypass so that later in the summer the old bridge can be demolished and replaced.  There have been no weather delays so Knickerbocker says the work is a little ahead of schedule.  But he says it’s early in the process and they can’t count on it staying that way.


Plans call for adding sidewalks to Plumtrees Road for students who walk to the Educational Park. 


A number of state and federal agencies had to weigh in on the design plans because of ecological concerns in the area, which added significant time to the planned redesign.  The box turtle, which has delayed several other road projects in the region, meant that Bethel had to change the slope of the design. 


When the bridge replacement is finished, Knickerbocker says the realigned intersection will be less congested, safer for pedestrian crossings and wide enough for trucks and school buses to make turns without taking up both lanes.


The project is slated for completion in October 2017.