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ConnDOT to Replace Two Main Street Bridges

Both bridges were built in 1927 and erosion is taking a toll on the structures.

Drivers traveling along one stretch of Main Street can see the Sippin Energy and Ace Hardware buildings and scenic views of Pequonnock Reservior. What's not visible is the erosion on the undersides of two aging bridges that have carried traffic along the state roadway since 1927.

Connecticut Department of Transportation inspections revealed exposed rebar and deteriorating concrete among the conditions warranting the estimated $9 million replacement of both bridges.

Michael N. Calabrese, the DOT's project manager, says the projects will be fully funded by the state and work should begin by the fall of 2014, taking about a year to complete.

He and Michael Cherpak, the project engineer for the DOT, made a presentation at a public information meeting at Monroe Town Hall on Tuesday night.

Town Land Use Director/Engineer Scott Schatzlein was on hand to answer questions. State Rep. DebraLee Hovey (R-112th) and Town Councilman Nick Kapoor also attended the meeting.

Calabrese said the roadway will be closed for two weekends for each bridge project, adding on weekdays there will be alternating traffic in one lane for construction during off-peak hours. He said detours will be set up on Monroe Turnpike and Route 34.

One of the bridges is about 1,300 feet long, alongside Sippin Energy and Ace Hardware. Calabrese said the pavement there would be raised three feet to resolve frequent flooding conditions when the level of the west branch of the Pequonnock River rises and flows across the road.

The second bridge, which is about 400 feet long, goes over the Pequonnock Reservoir.

Robert W. Ike, a supervisor for the Office of Rights of Way, explained how the state has to acquire portions of properties owned by the Sippins and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for the projects. According to the process, the state estimates the value of the properties and the owners have the right to negotiate a settlement if they believe it's too low.

Calabrese said an agreement has already been reached with the Sippins.

No Widening of Route 25

The need for the project is based upon a DOT inspection of the bridges in 1999. There was a public meeting in 2000 for what was then a plan, not only to replace the bridges, but to widen Main Street to four lanes. But Calabrese said those projects were scrapped the following year for financial reasons.

ConnDOT received funding for the bridge replacements again in 2009, when the plan reverted back to a two-lane concept.

Calabrese said the projects will involve the temporary and permanent re-locations of utilities, adding any driveways affected by construction will be regraded and paved.

During the question and answer period, Steve Kirsch of Monroe expressed concern that the duration of the project will take a toll on Old Newtown Road, which he believes it will frequently be used as a cut-through. Kirsch asked if the road could be repaved before work begins on the bridge replacements.

But the DOT representatives assured him the projects will actually take less than a year to complete.

Gerald M. Gaynor January 17, 2013 at 11:43 AM
So, we've known about the problem since 1999, we are finally going to fix the bridges but we aren’t going to widen Route 25. And people wonder why we think the DOT must be run by idiots...
Alex January 17, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Widening Rt. 25 would be a great idea, but it would also cost much more. I don't see the state coffers overflowing with cash lately, so we must spend within our budget. Whether they mismanage the tax money already given to them... I wouldn't doubt that.
Joel Leneker January 17, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Good to see the state replacing the bridges and making further improvements to Main Street, Route 25. No need to widen Route 25, and given the economic condition of the State of Connecticut I am glad the DOT has decided spend money in Monroe.
QWERTY January 17, 2013 at 04:36 PM
At the very least Rt 25 needs to have its breakdown lanes widened. I don't know how feasible it is with this project but would be nice. I know it's probably out of the town's hands but Monroe always seems to have a future-proofing issue.
Chief Waldo January 17, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Just as we get traffic flowing after the excessively long Judd Road and Route 59 projects, it's time to create a construction zone of the whole area again. But, seeing how long it took between approval of the above projects and the start of actual construction, this project is probably a good five+ years away from any start of construction.
Joel Leneker January 17, 2013 at 05:20 PM
I would think this project will go off as scheduled as they have already secured some of the local land owners land for the bridge repair. As I understand it some of the delays for the intersection improvements were due to negotiating land takes from property owners. Good to see some infrastructure improvements being made.
Life By The Green January 17, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Why not build for 3 or four lanes now, so that if a widening does occur during the lifespan of the bridges, they won't have to be rebuilt? Note the I84 Lake Zoar bridges as an example.
jim laguardia January 17, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Hey build a sewage treatment plant under the new bridges it can drain into the water right there. Kill 2 birds with one stone.... Or hundreds whichever
Brian Quinn January 17, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Ideally, I would like to see each time a section of road is rebuilt that a section of sewer line is laid in place. Eventually, the parts could connect. Should we ever got to the point of funding sewers on 25 or 111 we wouldn't have to rebuild the roads and bridges all over again. The cost savings would be huge. I realize this is a state project. It seems that if we already had sewers, they would have to replace them in the bridge area. So I believe it can be cost justified to request they include it. Even if Monroe had to pay for the pipe material. Perhaps Monroe business CT Precast could help supply the material keeping business in Monroe and reducing delivery expenses. I live on one of the side roads where traffic will inevitably build up during the project. A minor inconvenience if it is done right once... With a little foresight, the pipe could have extended from clock tower to Dutchess all on the state's dime. Then, connecting south to Trumbull sewer lines would have been a piece of cake... The article says the last bridges were built 85 years ago. If there is any chance Monroe will want or need sewers in the next 85 years, lets install the pipe. I'm sure the state has a reason why this common sense approach won't work, but I would love to understand it so I can explain it to our kids who will inherit our decisions.
jim laguardia January 18, 2013 at 12:10 AM
Slow down, you are thinking way to logically. Actually put pipes in while the roads are allready dug up.... That is like rocket science or something
Joel Leneker January 18, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Four lane roads through towns with adjoining shallow commercial lots destroys commercial development. The lots are too small for large business development and Small businesses do not succeed since cars mainly use the road for commuter traffic through the community enroute to other destinations. Commuters do not stop to support businesses due to higher speeds. Exception maybe gas stations. Last count 20,000 plus cars travel route 25 everyday. Monroe population 18,000 plus.
jim laguardia January 18, 2013 at 03:59 AM
Laying the pipe WHILE the road is allready dug up?? That makes way to much sense.
Walt January 18, 2013 at 01:06 PM
Brian it's about $60 to $80 a foot depending on what they hit when digging, going through that wet area would take a while.
Crown Royal January 18, 2013 at 02:29 PM
How exactly do we present this idea?
Joel Leneker February 01, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Jim: While your pipe laying suggestion is a good one, I would guess that in order for pipe to be laid as part of this infrastucture improvement project, the sewer system needs to be engineered first to be included with this work.

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