By Robert McGarry, Haddam First Selectman
(July 7, 2022) —-Last week I wrote about the projects going on in Higganum Center. This week I’ll continue with the other projects, both public and private, in town:
- Sidewalk – We’re replacing the existing sidewalk from Jail Hill Road to the cemetery because of its deteriorating condition. The new sidewalk will be wider in order to make it easier for two people to walk side-by-side. The sidewalk will have benches and seating areas at either end and signs denoting the historical significance of the area. The contract was awarded to Costa & Sons. Work has been delayed by a bureaucratic snag at CT DOT, but should be starting soon.
- Transfer Station – This isn’t a project, but it is worthy of mention. At the April 14th Board of Selectmen’s meeting, the board approved allowing residents to buy a second transfer station sticker for the same household at half price. A number of residents suggested this change.
- Hope Garden – The renovations to this building at 7 Island Dock Road are almost complete. The rehabilitation center has received its Certificate of Need (CON) from the state Office of Health Strategy. The CON is basically the license to operate a health care facility. They still have a few items to address for their Certificate of Occupancy.
- Sidewalk – If you’ve been on Bridge Road in the past month or so, you’ve seen the construction of a sidewalk on the south side of the road. Work should be completed this fall. This sidewalk will connect to the sidewalk that DOT will be building as part of the roundabout project. (There’s a preliminary design drawing of the roundabouts on the town webpage which shows the sidewalks, https://www.haddam.org/projects/pages/roundabouts. The drawing is also posted in the lobby of the Town Office Building.) When it’s all done the sidewalk will run from Saybrook Road to the swing bridge sidewalk. There will also be sidewalks on Saybrook Road from where the existing sidewalk ends near The Saybrook at Haddam to just south of the Bridge Road intersection. All of the sidewalks will have decorative street lighting and the developer of Blueways Commons, the apartments on Brookes Court, will put the same lights along that road.
- Swing Bridge – You may have seen that the contract for the project was awarded to American Bridge Company (ABC), which was involved in building the bridge in 1912. I attended the pre-construction meeting on June 29th at the DOT District 2 office in Norwich and met the key DOT engineers who will be working on the rehabilitation as well as ABC’s project manager, project supervisor and regional manager. DOT plans to issue the Notice to Proceed to ABC on July 7th. They have until February 2025 to complete the project. ABC expects to start work in late August or early September. There will be a groundbreaking ceremony later this summer. As soon as ABC releases their project schedule, which should include when the 63-hour closures and alternating one-way traffic will be in effect, we’ll put it on the Swing Bridge project page on our website. DOT has a website for the project, https://easthaddamswingbridgeproject.com/. There will be traffic cameras installed covering both approaches to the bridge, so you can check the traffic conditions in real time.
- Roundabouts – Work continues on the design of the roundabouts. On June 14th, Town Planner Bill Warner and I had a meeting with DOT to discuss the project status. The start date has been pushed back to April 2024; it had been scheduled to start in the spring of 2023. DOT is planning to build a parking lot on the west side of Saybrook Road near the Route 9 connector for people who want to view the cascading falls at Clark Creek. There also are historical ruins in that area. Trails will be built from the parking lot to both areas.
- Blueway Commons – I’m sure you’ve seen the construction of the two apartment buildings and community center on Brookes Court. They’re moving along well in spite of supply chain issues. I understand the latest challenge is getting door handles. On June 6th, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the second phase of the development. This phase adds one more building with 32 apartments, 16 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom units, to the complex. The building will be farther in along Brookes Court than the other three.
We have a couple of new businesses in town. Riverside Steakhouse and Tavern opened in The Village Plaza in Higganum Center and Oh Fudge and More opened at 1588 Saybrook Road in Tylerville. My wife and I have sampled the fare at both and can recommend them. Please support our local merchants, and enjoy your summer!