Old Greenwich detour to end Friday, but construction on Sound Beach Avenue continues into the fall

2022-09-10 02:28:43 By : Mr. Henry Tan

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Traffic is detoured around the Sound Beach Avenue bridge in Old Greenwich, Conn. Monday, April 11, 2022. The detour will end on July 1 but construction on the bridge replacement will go on into the fall. One lane in each direction will still be open.

Construction continues on the Sound Beach Avenue bridge at Binney Park in Old Greenwich, Conn. Wednesday, May 11, 2022. The detour will end on July 1 but construction on the bridge replacement will go on into the fall. One lane in each direction will still be open.

A sign warns drivers that the Sound Beach Avenue Bridge will soon be closed to be replaced in Old Greenwich, Conn. Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Starting April 11, traffic will be detoured to Harding Road and Forest Avenue as the Sound Beach Avenue Bridge is replaced. The detour will end on July 1 but construction on the bridge replacement will go on into the fall. One lane in each direction will still be open.

GREENWICH — As a bridge replacement project moves to the next phase, the detour on Sound Beach Avenue in Old Greenwich will end Friday.

Since early April, traffic was detoured off Sound Beach Avenue just after the Perrot Memorial Library, sending drivers to the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center before directing them back to Sound Beach Avenue.

But starting Friday, drivers will be able to cross the bridge as one lane of traffic is opened in each direction.

“For any project, public safety is paramount,” said Renee Wallace, communications specialist for the Department of Public Works. The DPW’s “Engineering Division meticulously plans projects with safety and public necessity in mind. Once the detour is removed and the road is reopened, this project will utilize temporary precast concrete jersey barriers along both sides of the travel lanes for added protection.”

Crews were making the changes on Thursday, Wallace said.

“Crews are backfilling and compacting the sewer trench,” with temporary paving taking place either Thursday or Friday, she said.

“Once the paving is complete, the protective barriers, line striping and signage will be installed and vehicular detour signs will be covered,” she said.

The project is on schedule, and work will continue all summer, Wallace said.

“Currently two-thirds of the precast concrete culvert sections have been installed on the Sound Beach Avenue Bridge,” she said. “The project is scheduled to be completed this fall.”

The remaining work includes installing the last four precast concrete culvert sections; constructing the bridge’s wing walls; installing manholes, catch basins and pipes as well as curbs and sidewalks; relocating utilities; paving and striping the road; landscaping; and adding the ashlar stone façade to the bridge, Wallace said.

During periodic times of construction, Wallace said police will be on hand to direct two-way alternating traffic.

The detour had been an inconvenience on Sound Beach Avenue, which is a major entry point to get to Old Greenwich.

Resident Tom Byrne said he has been concerned since the beginning about the need for emergency services to have quick access to the area. Byrne, a former moderator of the Representative Town Meeting and a member of the District 6 delegation, said he expressed his concerns about area traffic backups in an email to DPW Commissioner Amy Siebert in April..

On April 15, fire trucks responding to a blaze on Shore Road had to use Exit 6 on Interstate 95 in Stamford instead of Exit 5 in Riverside because of the traffic delays, he said.

Deputy Fire Marshal Mark Dawson said the detour had been an issue in general with trucks finding it quicker to go through Exit 6 in Stamford to access Old Greenwich.

“The detour has added to response time. That’s a given. The route they presented did add time to it,” Dawson said.”I hope that the detour is ending. ... Our concerns is that any time there is road closures and detours are put in place fire protection suffers for people in that area.”

Greenwich police Capt. Mark Zuccerella, however, said police did not experience any slowdowns for response to Old Greenwich because of the detour. “It was not an issue for us,” Zuccerella said.

RTM District 6 Chair Coline Jenkins said she had not heard complaints from residents about the detour. She noted that more construction work is slated for Old Greenwich, with a sidewalk going in on Shore Road and the the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center slated for demolition and replacement.

But residents are happy to see the detour end, she said.

“I think people keep adjusting, adjusting, adjusting, and hopefully it will be a better place when it’s all done,” Jenkins said.

RTM Moderator Alexis Voulgaris, a District 6 member, said she was concerned about the ongoing construction work with fireworks shows slated for Saturday night at Binney Park and Greenwich Point.

“I worry about the fireworks in the park,” Voulgaris said, referring to the heavy traffic expected. “Not just for the drivers but also the walkers because the sidewalk is closed off.”

The sidewalk remains closed, Wallace said, but there is a posted detour route for pedestrians.

Ken Borsuk has been a reporter for Greenwich Time since 2015 but has been covering Greenwich news since 2000. He has extensively covered local government including the Board of Selectmen, Board of Estimate Taxation and Representative Town Meeting.