A bridge-repair project scheduled for 2014 already has worried.
The state Department of Transportation is going to replace two bridges on Route 163, near the corner with the post office and Pa’s Pizza. The work is likely to mean a 2-mile detour for the length of the project, which DOT Engineer Mary Baker estimates will be three months.
The DOT made a presentation about the project at Town Hall on Tuesday.
Joe Miceli, one of the owners of Pa’s Pizza, says he expects the work to take longer than predicted.
“The state jobs, it’s never what they say it’s going to be, with the permits and everything,” he said.
“Absolutely we’re worried. We’re 100 percent takeout and delivery. We survived reopening,” he says, “and now this."
“If they shut down 163, they’re just going to shut down our business.”
Mayor Joe Jaskiewicz says he has already called the state legislators to see if they can help work out “a one-lane deal.”
The bridges are in bad shape, Baker says. They are structurally deficient, and hydraulically inadequate, meaning that they can’t handle the stresses of a 100-year-storm.
In addition, the bridges are too narrow. The state likes bridges to be 28 feet across, and these are 21 feet and 26 feet.
The detour would go from the Chesterfield Road to Old Colchester to Fellows Road and back to Route 163.
“Understandably, it’s a huge inconvenience,” Baker says.
“If there’s any way we can build the bridge in parts, we would,” Baker says. This would allow the road to stay open, and they are still contemplating this possibility. But so far, she says, “Our choice was to do the detour to save time and costs.”