The Arrigoni Bridge project is about two weeks behind schedule and its budget has increased by nearly $2 million since the project started this spring, but neither of those changes in the now $19 million repair project will delay it, state traffic officials told local business leaders and town officials this morning.
Kenneth E. Fargnoli, the state Department of Transportation engineer overseeing the project, said the $17 million budget has been increased by nearly $2 million to pay for unforeseen costs and changed work orders, including $800,000 for additional police patrols on and near the bridge in Middletown and Portland, as well as $600,000 to repair sidewalks leading up to the bridge and $500,000 to replace rotting handrails.
Fargnoli’s report came during a regular meeting Friday morning of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce committee monitoring the Arrigoni Bridge project.
And while the project is currently running 14-16 days behind schedule, Fargnoli said the delay is not expect to affect the anticipate completion date of next fall.
“We don’t believe, at this time, that it’s going to impact the overall timeframe of the project,” Fargnoli said.
The construction delay, he added, resulted from tie-ups in the manufacturing and delivery of the replacement steel decking for the bridge.
Local officials raised several concerns about the project during the meeting.
Middletown Police Chief Patrick McMahon said significant afternoon traffic backups are occurring on Washington Street from its intersection with Main Street to High Street. He and other city officials questioned whether the DOT could allow motorists to access the northbound lanes of nearby Route 9 from lower Washington Street, which would alleviate tie-ups at the intersection of Washington and Main streets that occur because many motorists need to travel up Main Street to get access to Route 9 north.
Fargnoli said the DOT would consider that request.
Others, including Mayor Sebastian Giuliani, questioned why the DOT has closed off the southbound lanes of Exit 14 from Route 9, which motorists use to get to Main Street. He and chamber president Larry McHugh said there appears to be a large pothole at the exit, but that while the DOT has erected barriers around it, the state agency is not fixing the hole.
“Tell those guys doing (Exit) 14 to get going,” McHugh said.
DOT officials said they would also look into that Route 9 issue.
Portland First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield questioned how the DOT would handle inclement weather this winter and the impact it would have on the Arrigoni work.
Fargnoli said he would speak with the DOT’s maintenance department and inquire about their plans to keep the bridge free of ice and snow this winter.