River Place Bridge Work May Resume in April

Details are being worked out for resuming work on River Place Bridge. The construction project was stopped in November 2022 when it was discovered that one headwall was not sitting on a firm foundation.

The project went back to the drawing boards and then had to reapproved by the state Department of Transportation, causing considerable delay. First Selectman Matt Riiska has been working with the engineers and construction company for a month to get the project up and running again. 

“I feel we have everything worked out now,” he said during the March 6 Board of Selectmen’s meeting. “We plan to get back on site by the middle of April.”

He said the additional work has added $1.1 million to the project, of which the town will be responsible for 20 percent. He is discussing the issue with the state. “I have been working with the state a lot,” he said during the Selectmen’s meeting, adding that the state has agreed to pay 100 percent of the cost on other bridges.

In other business, he reported that a new City Meadow Committee has been appointed consisting of Elizabeth Borden and Michael Selleck from the Economic Development Commission, George Cronin, Molly Ackerly, Doreen Kelly from the Community Association, Lisa Atkin from the Norfolk Foundation and Martyn Banks from the fire department. “I tried to get a diverse group,” Riiska reported. 

He said the committee will “push things along” with the needed removal of invasives and planning better ways to use the meadow for passive recreation. He reported that there was $7,000 left over from the work of a previous committee and that a donor has provided another $110,000 to accomplish the needed work. “We’ll be very careful about how we spend it,” he said.

Since City Meadow was first created as a recreational area, invasive plants have overrun it. Proposed work includes removing them and planting native plants.

The selectmen approved a resolution authorizing Riiska to formally apply for a $2.5 million Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection grant to help pay for the new firehouse. State Representative Maria Horn secured the loan for the town. 

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the plans for the firehouse Tuesday night. 

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