By Andrew Martin | News & Citizen
When the Route 100 bypass opened in the fall of 2014, state and local officials predicted it would seriously alter traffic patterns in downtown Morrisville. Drivers and businesses along the bypass and in historic downtown Morrisville are finally getting used to the new setup.
But that’s all about to change—again.
BRIDGEWORK IS COMING
PHOTO BY GLENN CALLAHAN
The section of Bridge Street between the intersection of Brooklyn Street and the bypass, seen in the far background, will be closed for nearly two months beginning in mid-May. The rest of the street, seen in the foreground, will remain open and through traffic will be able to continue up Brooklyn and Portland streets.
A portion of Bridge Street, from the bypass to the intersection with Brooklyn Street, will close starting in mid May for nearly two months for a serious makeover. Bridge Street, since the bypass opened, has become the gateway to downtown. But the road is in rough shape and needs a complete overhaul.
The project includes a new waterline, repaving and new sidewalks.
“We don’t want any traffic on it after we rip up the asphalt and it’s down to dirt,” Dan Lindley, town administrator for Morristown, said.
Local business owners on Bridge Street have mixed feelings over the road closure and how it will impact them.
“I think we have to keep our eyes on the prize. We are giving up a little to get an all new gateway into our downtown,” Tim Monaghan, owner of Riverbend Market, said.
“It’s a minor inconvenience, but overall I think it will be a positive,” he said. “I’m just thankful a lot of money is being invested in our downtown and things are looking up.”
Others are just thankful that the rest of Bridge Street will remain open and through traffic up Portland and Brooklyn Streets will keep flowing.
“This basically just puts things back to the way they were before the bypass opened,” said Hank Glowiak, who owns Chuck’s Bikes. The last major project on Bridge Street, the replacement of the bridge over the Lamoille River several years ago, turned Bridge Street into a dead end and shut down through traffic completely. That was disastrous according to Glowiak.
“I lost 50 percent of my business that summer,” he said. “Bridge Street won’t be a dead end with this new project, so I’m not too worried about it. People just have to go around a little further.”
That sense of relief over the rest of Bridge Street remaining open is echoed by business owners in other parts of Morrisville.
“It was really, really tough when they closed Bridge Street completely for the bridge project,” said Deb Papineau, owner of Deb’s Place on Brooklyn Street. “That was the closest I’ve ever come to not making it. I just hope they get the new project done before foliage.”
Not everyone on Bridge Street is so optimistic about the closure.
“I think we are going to be losing quite a bit of business,” said Lisa Grassette, the manager at Tomlinson’s Store. “They just put the bypass in and now they are closing it off to us.”
“People were worried the bypass would hurt businesses, but really it’s given people an easier way to get here,” she said. “I just hope they get the project done as fast as they can. Personally I think they should do it at night.”
No signed detour is planned while the project is underway.
“There’s not a whole lot we can do,” said Lindley. “All the state roads are still going to be open, and traffic should flow normally. There’s no real need for a signed detour.”
Initially planned to start the first week of May, the Bridge Street project has been pushed back to later in the month. Town and village highway workers will begin tearing up the street after a contractor has been selected to replace the waterline along the 400-foot section of road.
A contractor was being selected on Wednesday after the News & Citizen went to press. Lindley hopes to begin tearing up the road roughly two weeks ahead of the start date the contractor selects. The waterline work must start by June 1.