OLD GREENWICH, Conn. -- The neighborhood is bracing for construction work expected to begin next month on a pair of major bridge projects in Old Greenwich.
In the $14.9 million project, set for completion in July 2017, the bridges over Sound Beach Avenue and Tomac Avenue will be demolished and replaced. Preliminary site work has already started.
The work will cause problems, but the end result will help improve the community, Old Greenwich Association President David Rafferty said.
"The train bridge project will be an inconvenience, but a manageable one," he said. "And the increased parking, better traffic flow and frankly, a much better looking entrance to the village, will be a benefit from it in the long run."
One store owner expressed concern about the possible disruption in business.
"As much as I think it will be awful for everyone, there isn't much choice," said Rebecca Karson, owner of Gather. Her shop, which handmade jewelry, clothing, gifts, vintage home accessories and furniture, is at 185 Sound Beach Ave., just a short distance from the bridge.
Some motorists may choose not to come into Old Greenwich because of the construction, Karson said. But she hoped it will encourage local residents to shop at home.
The Old Greenwich Association and the Old Greenwich Merchants will work to make sure everyone knows that the neighborhood's stores are open for business, Rafferty said.
"A lot of the work is going to be done at night so there will be some inconvenience for residents there, but the trade-off is that the entire project will be completed faster," he said.
The work will enhance safety and service, a state Department of Transportation spokesman said.
“This project is representative of our commitment to continuous railroad infrastructure investment, more reliable service, and customer and employee safety on the busiest commuter railroad in the country,” Judd Everhart said.
The project has four different sites:
- Site 1 - As part of the new Sound Beach Avenue bridge, the concrete/steel pier will be eliminated from the center of Sound Beach Avenue. The southbound left-turning lane into the south parking lot will be lengthened. The sidewalks and wooden stairways will be replaced.
- Site 2 - Tomac Avenue will be restriped and a new 4-foot-wide sidewalk will be constructed under the west side of the new bridge.
- Site 3 - The railroad station's platforms will be extended from the existing six-car length to 10-car length. Three enclosed shelters, 27 four-person benches and six trash/recycling receptacles will be added along with new staircases and railings.
- Site 4 - The upper and lower South Commuter Parking Lots will be repaved expanded from 99 spaces to 220 spaces. .
While the work is ongoing, some parking spaces at the Old Greenwich railroad station will be inaccessible.
At the request of the Old Greenwich Association, the DOT created a website dedicated to providing updated information on the project. It is accessible through the OGA's website at www.oldgreenwich.org .
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