Busway Work Could Cause Nighttime Traffic Slowdowns In New Britain
By DON STACOM
July 27, 2012
NEW BRITAIN —— Several months of periodic traffic delays on Route 9 and Route 72 are expected to begin Sunday night when workers start dismantling a long-abandoned railroad bridge.
Demolition crews will demolish the 400-foot bridge as part of the $567 million project to build a bus-only highway to downtown Hartford.
Plainville-based Manafort Brothers Inc. has a contract to tear down the old railroad bridge and build a new one to carry the busway over both highways. The company also is responsible for rebuilding the Route 72 eastbound off-ramp and the Route 9 southbound on-ramp at Route 71.
The state department of transportation expects Manafort crews will require one lane to be closed on Route 9 northbound and periodic traffic stoppages at night of up to 10 minutes at a time. Some lane closures on Route 9 southbound and Route 72 eastbound will be required as the work progresses, according to the DOT.
The old bridge was part of a rail line from downtown New Britain to Newington Junction; it hasn't carried trains for decades and the rails are long gone. Some residents on the city's east side use the rickety, narrow pedestrian walkway to walk back and forth to downtown; the garbage-strewn route starts at Stanley Street and comes out behind the Columbus Plaza shopping center.
Manafort is building the downtown stretch of the busway along with its major station on Main Street. The DOT is scheduling the work at night to avoid interfering with commuter traffic, but early weekend morning delays appear likely. Crews will be working Mondays to Thursdays from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., Fridays from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturdays, Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 10 a.m. on Sundays, and Sundays from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Mondays.
During the course of construction, traffic may be stopped for up to 10 minutes between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., the DOT said.
The DOT says the busway, called CTfastrak, will reduce pollution and ease traffic congestion on I-84 when it opens late in 2014.
Manafort's contract is for $26,718,483. Details about progress on its work will be available at http://www.ctfastrak.com or through Construction@ctfastrak.com, the DOT said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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