Last week Deputy House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora met on site with officials from the State Department of Transportation (DOT), North Branford Mayor Anthony Candelora, Town Director of Public Works Fran Merola, and Town Engineer Kurt Weiss to review the current status of the Route 80 widening project in town.
DOT provided Candelora with an update so town residents can be made aware of the changes that are about to take place in the next phase of the project that focuses on the area new the intersection with Route 139.
Candelora said that when Route 139 is moved east in alignment with Great Hill Road, the old Route 139 area will become a green area, providing roughly 1 acre of excess state land in between the plaza and the new 139. He noted that this realignment should improve congestion around the plaza.
He added that sidewalks will be installed beginning on Notch Hill Road near Keenan Funeral Home and extending to the south side of Route 80 at the Notch Hill Road intersection. Sidewalks will run in front of the community center and down both sides of Route 139 to the end of the plaza.
Church Street will be moved north slightly and so will the existing North Branford Congregational Church parking lot. The street will intersect with Notch Hill Road and Route 80. This configuration will enlarge the church green on the west side of the property, and heavy landscaping will occur in that area. There are currently no plans to move the war monuments, though it is possible they may need to be moved back a small amount.
Catch basins will be installed at Great Hill Road, and the slope will be reduced to improve sight line and icing problems in the winter time. Neither of the two cemeteries on each side of Route 139 will be moved, and one of the walls at the corner of Route 80 and Notch Hill will be removed and replaced with fencing.
Candelora added that as promised during Phase II reconstruction, the state will return to the Route 80 corridor and put top soil over the gravel and plant grass. Landscaping and trees will be planted across from Commerce Drive and Big Y to improve the aesthetics. Pin oak trees will be planted across from Big Y.
The grading at Company 1 Firehouse will not be changed, and the work will proceed carefully in this area so as not to impede emergency call response.
A detailed schedule will be provided in the near future, and no significant traffic configuration changes will take place during the summer months. However, within one month DOT will begin working on putting a turning lane at the North Branford High School/Intermediate School complex which will be ready before the start of the school year.