Wethersfield to use $175,000 for raised sidewalk near Keeney Center – Hartford Courant

Wethersfield plans to spend $175,000 to build an elevated pedestrian crossing on Main Street near the Keeney Memorial Center as part of the Old Wethersfield Safety Improvement Project.

The money the city plans to use is part of the $4 million in state Urban Law Grant funds administered by the Department of Community Economic Development that have been awarded to the city.

The city planned to allocate only $150,000 to the project, but due to “unexpected higher costs”, the city decided to increase that amount by $25,000.

The UA funds were awarded for “upgrading public lighting, public parking and city-wide library and infrastructure,” according to the city council’s Oct. 17 agenda. UA funds are open to all municipalities and are provided to enhance and expand state activities that promote community conservation and development and improve the quality of life for city dwellers.

“At this time, the city plans to allocate $1.7 million of those funds to public library improvements and $2.3 million to public infrastructure improvements,” said City Manager Frederick Presley. “The intention is to build these improvements this fall using an existing contract, so if not approved this work will have to be tendered as a separate project in the future.

The council awarded a $708,775 contract to Clover Construction Company in August to complete safety improvements at Old Wethersfield, which included $500,000 in state UA funds.

As part of its ongoing construction contract, the city has recommended allocating additional UA funds to include the construction of a 3-inch raised speed table with a decorative, stamped crosswalk on it near the Keeney Center at the 200 Main St. Crosswalk will also be ADA compliant and have wheelchair accessible ramps on both sides.

Speed ​​tables are traffic calming devices that are designed similarly to speed bumps but are taller and flatter to allow pedestrians to pass over them.

Diagram of the approved raised sidewalk to be constructed north of the Keeney Center driveway on Main Street in Wethersfield (photo courtesy of the City of Wethersfield)

“We encourage the use of the public parking area behind the Keeney Center and have seen more use of it this year,” said City Engineer Derrick Gregor. “Around this time last year, we noticed a lot of people crossing Main Street into the Keeney Center driveway, which tends to be very dangerous due to the geometry of the road and the lighting conditions.”

Gregor said the city installed a demonstration crosswalk last year with a striped curb, shorter crossing distance and cones to see how it worked before installing a more permanent structure.

“It was called a demonstration crosswalk because it was meant as a temporary safety measure to at least give some safety to pedestrians crossing it,” Gregor said. “What we’ve seen over the past year is that it’s been used a lot and kept pedestrians safe.”

Gregor said the city has received complaints about motorists turning left in the crosswalk.

“So we’re looking at moving the Keeney Center driveway a bit to the south and putting the raised crosswalk on the north side,” Gregor said.

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Deputy Mayor Thomas Mazzarella questioned why a crosswalk would cost the city so much money.

“That seems like a lot of money for a crosswalk, I mean, I know everything is going up,” Mazzarella said.

Gregor said construction costs have increased due to inflation, and an elevated pedestrian crossing with signage is more involved than most other pedestrian crossings.

“It will serve a dual purpose of slowing traffic and providing a good crosswalk,” Gregor said. “It will be the first installed in town.”

Additional work along Main Street includes the installation of concrete curbs, brick paver sidewalks, ramps, signs and drainage improvements, as well as electrical conduit for the eventual installation of a decorative lamp post and/or rectangular quick flash beacons for a future project.

The $175,000 allocation plus the use of $500,000 in previously council-approved UA funds will leave approximately $1.65 million in infrastructure funding available to the city.

Stephen Underwood can be reached at [email protected]

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