State proposes removing Route 10 bridge over Route 322 in Southington



reporter photo

SOUTHINGTON — State officials are finalizing plans to remove a nearly century-old bridge carrying Route 10 over Route 322, replacing it with a regular intersection and traffic light.

The change is part of a larger state Department of Transportation project that will reconfigure the Route 10, Route 322 and Old Turnpike Road area. State officials hope to begin construction next year and have a virtual public information session scheduled for Monday. 

Among the biggest changes is the removal of Norton Street, which DOT project manager Jeffrey Pfaffinger described as a “defacto on and off ramp for Route 10.” With an at-grade intersection replacing the bridge, Pfaffinger said there would no longer be a need for Norton Street.

Bridges carrying Route 10 and Route 322 over the Tenmile River will be replaced under the plan. The y-shaped intersection of Route 10 and Old Turnpike Road will be reconfigured so that Old Turnpike Road will be a distinct right-hand turn. The $11 million project will also add sidewalks and widen the Old Turnpike Road and Route 322 intersection to allow better turning.

Long in the making

State leaders have wanted to reconfigure the complicated Route 10 and Route 322 intersection since at least 2008, according to Town Manager Mark Sciota.

Pfaffinger expects the design to be complete by July. Construction could begin in the fall of 2023.

Work removing the bridge, widening intersections and removing Norton Street will mean detours for a few weeks.

Town Council members were concerned about the impact on area residents and businesses.

“We have a car wash there, we have a restaurant there, other smaller business in that area,” said Victoria Triano, Town Council chairwoman.

Pfaffinger said construction won’t keep people from being able to reach homes or businesses.

“Access will be maintained throughout construction for all businesses and residents. It may be a little bumpy at times, but the contractor will be required to maintain access at all times,” he said.

Concerns about traffic

Jack Perry, a Town Council member, was concerned about replacing the Route 10 overpass with an intersection and a traffic light. He’s worried traffic could back up around the new traffic light and cause problems on Route 10 and Meriden Waterbury Turnpike.

“I don’t know if that’s going to be in the best interest of our community,” Perry said. “My concern is everything bottle-necking.”

He mentioned the 140-unit Stone Bridge Crossing development approved last year just south of the town line in Cheshire.

“We know that’s going to be an increase to traffic,” Perry said. “Route 322 is (also) going to have more growth over time.”

Pfaffinger said the state’s plan eliminates Norton Street and its intersection with Route 10. The two traffic lights at Route 10 and Old Turnpike Road will be synchronized to prevent back-ups, he said. 

“Every traffic analysis we’ve done has shown it’s going to work out well,” Pfaffinger said.

Other council members were in favor of the plan.

“That’s a big area that really needs to be done,” said Councilor Val DePaolo.

Paul Chaplinsky also supported work in the area.

“I think we all know that that intersection has been notorious over the years for accidents,” he said.

Public information session

State leaders sent letters to area businesses and residents notifying them of the March 16 information session.

A link to that session and more information on the project can be found at https://portal.ct.gov/DOTSouthington131-190.

Reporter Jesse Buchanan can be reached at jbuchanan@record-journal.com.



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