Special Town Meeting Tonight



Just a reminder…Tonight is the Special Town Meeting regarding the Town Bridge.


The Town of Canton recently received a grant in the amount of $5,340,000 to rehabilitate or replace Town Bridge over the Farmington River. Town Bridge Road and the existing bridge are maintained by the Town of Canton.  The bridge has been functioning with a reduced load rating for many years because of the continual deterioration of the existing bridge structure.  A Local Bridge Program grant obtained for the project and local matching funds would be utilized for rehabilitation or replacement of the bridge.



Town Bridge over the Farmington River was constructed by the Town of Canton in 1895 as a replacement of a covered wooden bridge at the same location.  The bridge (a single lane through truss) was fabricated and assembled by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company of Berlin, Connecticut.  The bridge has entered its second century of service to the Town.  It is quickly becoming one of a limited number of through truss bridges constructed in the late 1800s still in active vehicular use.  The bridge is also listed with the Historic American Engineering Record and the National Registry of Historic Places.

Existing Condition of Bridge

The bridge was last inspected by the State Department of Transportation in 2008.  The DOT inspection report documents the bridge as being “in serious condition.”


Local Bridge Program 

The Local Bridge Program provides financial assistance to municipalities for the removal, replacement, reconstruction or rehabilitation of local bridges.  Town Road Bridge did meet the Federal funding criteria and was approved for funding in July of 2010.

The town has received a commitment letter from the DOT to fund 80% of the cost to replace or rehabilitate the bridge under the Local Bridge Program.  This commitment was a result of a preliminary application submitted by the town in June of 2009.  The total cost for the project is estimated to be $6,683,232.  Pursuant to the Town Charter, acceptance of the grant will require approval by the town. The Board of Selectmen at their September 1, 2010 meeting moved to bring the acceptance of the Town Bridge Grant to referendum as part of the November 2, 2010 general election.  Prior to the referendum, a non-voting town meeting will be held on October 21, 2010 to discuss the bridge.  Since this is a reimbursable grant, the town will have to fund the entire cost of the project with the State providing reimbursement of 80% of the eligible reimbursable costs.  The town’s share of the project, based on the budget established in the preliminary application, is $1,336,646.  The amount of the town’s share is subject to adjustments as the plans for the project are further developed.



Funding for the town’s share of the project could come from a combination of sources including undesignated fund balance, grants and the annual operating budget.

Project Alternatives

In consideration of the serious condition of the bridge, the town will need to determine a course of action at some future date.  Several likely alternatives to addressing the bridge are described below:

    1.  No Action:

If the existing bridge is not rehabilitated or replaced, the bridge eventually will require further reduction in the load rating and ultimate closure to vehicular traffic. The estimated cost to provide maintenance such as cleaning, minor repairs, resurfacing and engineering support is estimated to be $5,000 annually.   Funding would need to be identified from sources other than the Local Bridge Program since these costs are not eligible for funding under the Local Bridge Program.

    2.  Rehabilitate the Existing Bridge:

This option retains the existing bridge as a single lane bridge with alternating directional traffic.  Roadway approaches to the bridge, however, may require geometric changes to meet federal and state design standards.  This is the current proposal which is estimated to cost $6,683,232.

    3.  Demolition of the Existing Bridge:

This option may be required if no action is taken to repair the bridge and the structure was determined to be a hazard to the public.  The cost to demolish the bridge and modify the roadway approaches is estimated to be $510,000.  Funding would need to be identified from sources other than the Local Bridge Program since these costs are not eligible for funding under the Local Bridge Program.
    4.  Reconstruct the Existing Bridge to a 2-Lane Configuration:

This option would include widening and reconstructing the bridge and approach roadways to provide one lane of traffic in each direction.  The type and appearance of this bridge will be determined during the preliminary design phase of the design process.  The estimated cost to reconstruct the bridge to accommodate one lane of traffic in each direction is in the range of $7.3 – $8.0 million dollars depending on bridge type. 

    5.  Closing of the Existing Bridge to Vehicular Traffic/Rehabilitate Exisintg Bridge for Pedestrian Use:

If the bridge is closed to vehicular traffic it could be rehabilitated to accommodate adaptive uses such as pedestrian access.  The estimated cost to rehabilitation the bridge for pedestrian use is $1,800,000.   Funding would need to be identified from sources other that the Local Bridge Program since these costs would only be partially funded under the Local Bridge Program up to the estimate cost of demolition of the bridge.

If the town approves moving forward with the project, town officials will meet with DOT.

The first step in the design process will be completion of a structure type study.  The current proposal and any suitable alternatives for the bridge design will be studied considering the safety, serviceability, maintainability, construct-ability, permit requirements, economics and aesthetics of the bridge. Construction costs will be prepared for each structure type to further refine the cost of alternatives.  Any additional costs above the budget established for the project will require approval by the town.

A Special Town Meeting to discuss acceptance of Town Bridge DOT Grant will be held TONIGHT:

Thursday, October 21, 2010
Canton High School, 76 Simonds Ave

CHS Auditorium at 7:00 p.m.

Which shall be adjourned to a referendum on:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at
Canton Town Hall, 4 Market Street

in conjunction with the general election

Ballot Question: “Shall the Town of Canton authorize the expenditure of $6,683,232 for the reconstruction of the Town Bridge, with the proposed sources of such expenditure being the acceptance of a grant of approximately $5,346,586 and the appropriation of no more than $1,336,646 from the undesignated fund?”



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One Response to “Special Town Meeting Tonight”

  1. avatar Bryan says:

    With as much money that will be going into this project and the effect this could have to the infrastructure of the town and road way, I highly encourage the residents of Canton to go and participate in this meeting. In my opinion a lot of information and perspective comes from these kinds of meetings and you don’t want to be making that decision uninformed and in the voting booth.

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