The State Department of Transportation will hold an informational meeting about the West Street Bridge replacement project, tonight in City Hall. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.
The West Street bridge is a narrow, wood surfaced bridge over the rail tracks, about 200 yards south of Route 66. West Street is the most direct route from Washington Street to much of the southern part of Middletown, including Wesleyan Hills. As such, it is a thoroughfare for drivers and cyclists traveling to and from the High School on Newfield Street, as well as those traveling from Route 66 to Route 157 and on to Middlefield and Durham. The bridge is also used by those traveling between Wesleyan and Route 66. Residents of the homes, apartments, and condominiums on West, Butternut, Cross, and Butternut Knoll Streets routinely walk across the bridge en route to the businesses on Washington Street.
According to an article in the Hartford Courant, the state is proposing to replace the 17-foot wide bridge with one that is nearly twice as wide.
Concerns about the bridge project have been raised on a facebook post about the hearing (excerpts):
- "I like it the way it is as a relic of the past."
- "It needs a sidewalk for pedestrians and the road surface could be better, but it doesn't need to be any wider and the stop signs need to stay."
- "A sidewalk/pedestrian bridge are a must."
- "Also almost impossible for tandem kid-bike or bike trailer. There aren't many of us, but it is a deterrent..."
- "It'll be a positive upgrade in the safety of the bridge. But a negative move for those that live next to it. Some homes are right alongside the bridge."
The meeting is open to the public, and there will be an opportunity to ask questions.