Branchville grant projects go to town meeting tomorrow, Nov. 29

Two Branchville improvement projects, to be financed mostly with close to $7 million in grants, are coming before voters for a town appropriation potentially totaling $710,000.

A Town Meeting vote, following a public hearing on the projects, is scheduled to begin Wednesday night, Nov. 29, at 7:30 in town hall.

“The Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance have both approved an allocation not to exceed $710,000 — more than what it’s expected to be, but contractual obligations could lead to a possible appropriation of $710,000 as the town’s share of two grants totalling $6.8 million,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi told The Press on Monday.

There are two projects involved.

One project, initiated by the state and MetroNorth, involves the reconstructing the Portland Avenue bridge at the south end of the Branchville train station. It is to be covered by a $4.8-million grant, with the town’s share projected at $208,000.

The project would involve adding another traffic light on Route 7 at the intersection of Portland Avenue, where a turning lane would be added for southbound cars wanting to go left onto Portland Avenue — which would become the only entrance to the train station. The plan new traffic light would be coordinated with the other Branchville light, at the Route 102 intersection on Route 7. That light would also be retimed to ease pedestrian crossings.

Other aspects of this project are at the north end of the train station, where the Depot Road railroad crossing would be closed to vehicles — only a pedestrian crossing of the tracks would remain — while the Depot Road bridge over the Norwalk River would become one-way out onto Route 7.  That would leave the rebuilt Portland Avenue as the only way into the train station.

The second Branchville project, initiated by the town in a grant request, involves $2,050,000 from the federal government, through the state, with a required town’s share of $410,000. The project’s goal is to improve “pedestrian connectivity” in Branchville by adding sidewalks street lamps and pedestrian bridges.

Most of the work would be along on the west side of Route 7, with sidewalks and street lamps similar to those in the village running from the Wilton town line north past Route 102 to the area of the Little Pub.

There would be a new pedestrian bridge over Cooper Brook, beside Route 102 (Branchville Road) by the Tusk and Cup. This would go with a reworking of the timing on the traffic light at Route 102 to be more pedestrian-friendly.