State transportation officials will consider making future lane shifts on the Arrigoni Bridge at night in order to limit impacts to businesses on the Portland side of the span.
During a meeting today on the bridge work Portland First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield requested limiting the lane shifts to the overnight hours, saying daytime changes have harmed businesses on Main Street in her town.
The contractor on the project shifted the lanes on a Saturday afternoon recently as part of moving into the second phase of the work and that change “was probably the most disrusptive aspect of the project” so far, Bransfield said during a morning meeting at the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce in Middletown. The changeover, needed so that workers could begin removing the old decking on another portion of the bridge, backed up traffic during the day on Saturday and harmed businesses along Route 66 in Portland, Bransfield said.
“It just wiped them out on that Saturday from noon until 8 p.m.,” she added. “They were pretty impacted.”
Kenneth E. Fargnoli, the state Department of Enviromental Protection engineer coordinating the bridge project, said the agency will consider her request. He added, however, that workers generally prefer to undertake the lane shifts during the day when visibility is better.
Fargnoli also told the 30 or so people who attended the meeting that the $19 million project overall is on track to be completed on time by Nov. 14 and that the third phase of the work will begin in late April. The shift in the bridge’s traffic pattern is expected to take place on Saturday, April 28, he said.
Officials from Portland and Middletown, as well as business leaders who attended the meeting, lauded the DOT and the contractor for the way the project has progressed, and said the DOT has done a good job of keeping motorists and officials informed of traffic issues on the bridge since the work began last year.
“This has been a pretty smooth project and everyone’s doing a great job,” said Middletown Mayor Dan Drew.
Fargnoli in turn thanked local officials, saying their commitment to work cooperatively on the project has made it a team effort.
“This could have been a nightmare, but working together it’s been a good project,” said Larry McHugh, the chamber’s president.