Grove Street/Route 67 project: 'We're right on schedule'

Reconstruction and realignment of the Route 67/Grove Street intersection is on schedule, according to state DOT officials.

Completion date still is targeted for November of 2010.

The project has been the subject of conjecture and discussion for decades. Design work began in 1993.

Since April 26's long-awaited ground-breaking, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has been making headway on the re-configuration of the intersection.

Trees have been taken down and the hill has been removed at the corner southeast of the intersection on Route 67, toward Bridgewater. In the next month, that area will be reconstructed into a "soft curve."

"We're still deciding if it will be by night work or day work," said Dean Cerasoli, DOT supervising engineer on the project. "If it is done by night work, there will be less stoppage of work required for traffic maintenance."

Two culverts are going in for the brook known as Great River, or colloquially as Butter Brook, that transverses Route 67. The western culvert, behind the Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2 firehouse, is completed. A curved, ornamental wall is now under construction, leading to a second culvert to be installed to the east.

"If all goes well, by Thanksgiving, Route 67 will be re-routed on a bypass road behind the firehouse," Mr. Cerasoli said. "Grove Street will still intersect where it does now but, when that traffic merges onto Route 67, it will quickly travel behind the south side of the firehouse and onto the realigned Route 67."

By next spring, Route 67 will be routed back where it is now and it is planned the DOT crew will be working on the final realignment of Grove Street, Cerasoli said.

Over the winter, the second box culvert will be built in front and to the side of the firehouse, where Route 67 passes over the stream now.

At the former site of a large building at 5 Bridge Street where once the Village Center for the Arts called home, razed this spring, East Street/Route 202 will eventually be realigned, passing through where now sits a stockpile of earth.

The project will realign Grove Street, from about 100 yards south of Mill Street, north behind the firehouse to a new four-way intersection with routes 67 and 202.

In addition, more than 200 yards of Bridge Street will be reconstructed and the current Grove Street will be terminated into a cul-de-sac at Route 67.

Old Grove Street will be reconstructed and widened.

The town's share of the entire $28.7 million project cost is about $2.3 million.

Norm Cummings/Spectrum

The path of Butter Brook, also known as Great River, foreground, will be moved slightly north to accommodate the realignment of the Grove Street and Route 67 in New Milford.