Central Square construction in Bristol will last at least three months
Downtown Bristol is being disrupted by construction work as part of the downtown revitalization project. (DAN SEUFERT PHOTO)
But now, as Central Square's pavement and the 100-year-old sewer lines are being torn up by large construction equipment, traffic is being disrupted and slowed, and parking spaces are hard to find.
The construction, which started last week, has required daily presence of town police to direct traffic around the dig spots, which have moved from day to day. There's also a sign at the entrance to the square telling people that downtown businesses are still open.
"It was really slow last week, though people seem to be walking around the construction and finding us," said Gina Morrison, owner of Gina's Place, a restaurant in the square. "We have very loyal customers, thankfully."
The traffic disruptions won't end soon. The goal, said Town Administrator Michael Capone, is for the underground repairs and road re-pavement to be completed by July 4, in time to accommodate most of the summer traffic.
"There was no way not to have done it this way," Capone said. "It has to be done, and we have to do it all at once to minimize the impacts on traffic and the downtown."
The downtown project's cost is $1.7 million, though 80 percent of the funding for the plan came from a state-administered federal Transportation Enhancement Program grant. The project was approved by voters at Town Meeting in 2009.
Besides replacing the underground water and sewer lines, the plan will reorganize the square's roads, parking spaces and sidewalks, as well as create a small park near the cannon and the flag pole at the square's center.
It will eliminate a few stretches of awkward downtown streets in order to simplify passage through the downtown area for cars and pedestrians, town officials said. It will also improve the parking situation by reorienting street-side parking spaces, making them safer for drivers.
"It will give us a more pedestrian-friendly downtown, improved water and sewer in the downtown, and parking will be changed to fit the design," Capone said.
Town officials hope the changes will improve the downtown business climate by making it more attractive.
Some of the work has already been done. Last summer, the town demolished the long-vacant four-story Mica Building, one of the square's main buildings. The removal of the building, which lies between the downtown area and the Newfound River, will allow the town to create another park area adjacent to the river, town officials said.
READER COMMENTS: 3
- Another View -- Cass Sunstein: A salute to the graceful silence of George W. Bush - 7
- David Harsanyi : Run, Liz, run! - 16
- Another View -- Bill O'Brien: Ask your state rep. to vote for transparency in the House - 43
- Another View -- Harold Meyerson: The right underestimates Elizabeth Warren's appeal - 39
- Jonah Goldberg: There was a time when we stood up to threats against free speech - 2
- Why I voted against the 'CRomnibus' spending bill - 20
- Another View -- Devon Chaffee: Why interrogators believe America should never torture - 2
- David Harsanyi: GOP establishment, stop whining - 0
- John Stossel: Individual giving beats government giving - 4
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Two Manchester women arrested in separate shoplifting incidents in Hooksett - 1
- Maine police search car belonging to husband of Londonderry shooting victim - 0
- Man arrested after chase, threatening to shoot police in Bow - 0
- Good Samaritan pins Manchester purse snatcher - 0
- Homeless man who saved woman from river: 'I don't consider myself a hero' - 9
- High School Basketball: Rivalries renewed in QCIBT - 0
- Dave D'Onofrio's Patriots Notebook: Will they get everything on their list? - 0
- Tuohy brothers add new restaurant in familiar spot - 0
- New Horizons volunteers deliver groceries and good cheer, making Christmas special - 0
Londonderry schools placed on lockdown after soldier's unplanned visit to high school causes alarm
Police say woman tried to steal 15 iPads