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Mitchelltown Road bridge repair plans are discussed

By Asher PavelSHARON — The Board of Selectmen held a special meeting Dec. 1 to discuss the Mitchelltown Road bridge, which has been closed for about two years. The purpose of the meeting was to get input from contractors, property owners James and Kathy Metz (who own the property that abuts the bridge), the selectmen and members of the public about repair plans. About 20 people attended the outdoor meeting, including contractor Florien Palmer of Palmer Construction.Dennis Garceau of WMC Engineering, the firm hired by the selectmen to put together a repair plan, presented a proposal for replacing the existing bridge with one designed around a 10-by-8 foot concrete box. He estimated that it would cost between $200,000 and $300,000. Garceau said the work would include stabilizing the banks of the stream, which flows under the bridge, and redirecting some of the water flow.Metz said one reason the bridge was damaged was that heavy trucks were using Mitchelltown Road as a shortcut to and from Route 4. He also said he would rather see a simple culvert repair, with two wing walls, which he thought should cost between $125,000 and $150,000, a plan that would save the town money. “I would like to see a simple bridge, not one that is grandiose,” he added. He also said he doesn’t want the concrete wing walls to be too long. First Selectman Bob Loucks recused himself at the meeting because he owns property on Mitchelltown Road. Selectman Meg Szalewicz, who chaired the meeting, said it would be possible to amend the plan WMC had proposed. “WMC, Palmer Construction and Mr. and Mrs. Metz should meet in the very near future to review the proposed repair and agree on ways to do it with shorter wing walls.”It was agreed the interested parties would travel to nearby New York state to look at a similar type of bridge that has been rebuilt.Szalewicz stipulated, and Palmer agreed, that he was donating his time to the town to consult on this project, without compensation of any kind. All parties agreed they would meet and report back with a design by the first week of January 2012.

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