Wilton's Island Street Bridge repairs on scheduleKATHLEEN BAGLIO HUMPHREYS
Union Leader Correspondent
August 03. 2014 7:52PM
WILTON — Reconstruction to the Island Street Bridge might be inconvenient to residents and businesses but the necessary repairs are on-schedule for the bridge to reopen by Aug. 17.
The bridge links Route 101A to downtown Wilton’s Main Street and Route 31. Detours take commuters miles out of their way.
“My six second commute is now a six minute commute,” said Island Street resident Lt. Eric Olesen whose work as a Wilton police officer just on the other side of the bridge from his home.
Project Manager Brian Emmons from TBuck Construction said, “We are completely on schedule.” He expects the bridge to be reopened by 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 17.
If the bridge is not opened by Aug. 16, the firemen’s parade for Wilton Old Homes Day can cross for foot traffic only for their parade.
According to Emmons, the bridge needed more rehab to the existing abutments than expected. The new concrete deck has been poured and the sidewalks and curbs are complete.
Nearby business owners say the bridge closure has affected them.
Magic Mirror Salon owner Kathryn Rockwood said, “Many of my customers have been a few minutes late because they forget the bridge is out.”
Salon customer Kelly Hammar of Wilton would drive over the bridge every day and said, “It takes more time but I’m willing to make the sacrifice to make it safer. It’s a pretty bridge.”
“I have not noticed a big change because summer is my slow time. I’m glad it’s being done now instead of the fall when business picks up and if it lingered into the holidays that would be bad,” said Doug Nelson, owner of Nelson’s Candy on Main Street.
“It’s a pain,” said Milford resident Jose Menendez who makes a lot of deliveries. “It makes me late or I have to plan to leave earlier.”
Before the construction, large trucks were restricted from traveling down Main Street but with the bridge out of service they now head through the business area.
The Wilton police station is within yards of the bridge and the detour impacts them. Chief Brent Hautanen said, “It adds a few more minutes to our emergency response time because we have to go around through Milford to get to the south side of town or up the hill to go north.
The work includes replacing the deck, replacing the bearings that hold the steel girders and repairing or replacing the abutment face, new sidewalks, curbs and railings.
Work began on the bridge June 9 with one lane traffic while detour signs went up by July 7, putting it out of commission for six weeks.