The Plumtrees Road bridge replacement project is two to three months ahead of schedule. But First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker cautioned that winter is shaping up to a typical New England winter, not like the easy one from last year.
The project is in the winter shut down phase now. But all lanes are open and traffic signals functioning as normal. Knickerbocker says it's actually easier to get through the intersection now than before work started. The busy and narrow intersection is being turned into an “x” shape where it meets Walnut Hill Road and Whittlesey Drive.
Knickerbocker says they haven't run into any unexpected features underground, the project is beyond that part now.
Knickerbocker says dedicated right and left turn arrows to help move traffic along. 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.
Plans call for adding sidewalks to Plumtrees Road for students who walk to the Educational Park. There will also be cross walk signals added. The $2.4 million project is being paid for mainly with federal funding. The project is slated for completion in October 2017.
Bethel had bad luck in recent years with Knickerbocker joking that "bridge" got to be a bad word in town for a while.
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.