Voters approve Branchville projects; town to spend $718,000

Two Branchville grant projects, totaling close to $7 million, moved forward as a town meeting voted unanimously to approve up to $718,000 in town funds to cover the local share of the projects.

“Branchville has been the forgotten child for a long time. It needs support,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi told the crowd of about 25 resident at the public hearing and town meeting, which ran back to back Wednesday night, Nov. 29.

The town meeting voted twice without dissent to approve the two separate but related projects. Voters approved up to $308,000 to cover the town’s share of $1,040,000 project to rebuild the Portland Avenue bridge at the south end of the Branchville train station, adding a new traffic light with a southbound turning lane on Route 7, while closing the Depot Road rail crossing at the north end of the station and making Depot Road one-way out onto Route 7. The projected local cost is about $208,000, but under the guidelines of the Federal Local Bridge Program the extra $100,000 needs to be approved in case costs exceed expectations.

Voters also approved $410,000 as the town’s share of a $2,050,000 grant project under the federal Transportation Alternatives Project. The 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.

They would also go a hot way up Branchville Road Route 102 to the vicinity of the CVS driveway, roughly opposite Florida Road. 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.

State Rep. John Frey (R-111) was at the town meeting, and spoke briefly in support of the appropriations.

“I think it’s a good project,” he said.