A long-awaited intersection fix at the southern end of Union Street may be underway next month.
The $2.5 million project would replace the current intersection of East Road with Union and Wolcott streets in a bid to slow down traffic and make it safer for drivers and children walking to and from nearby South Side School.
“It’s going to contribute greatly to the safety of that intersection, which has been very hazardous,” Mayor Art Ward said.
State Rep. Frank Nicastro, a Bristol Democrat whose 79th District includes the junction, said, “It needed to be done and now it’s going to come to pass. It’s finally falling into place.”
Nicastro called it “one of the most hazardous intersections in the city of Bristol by far.”
“When you try to pull out of East Road, it’s a terrible line of sight,” he said.
The proposed changes would straighten and flatten the area where the roads come together, removing the buildings that block the way.
“It’s going to get a complete new facelift,” Nicastro said.
The Cheshire-based Milone & MacBroom got $118,000 from the city to carry out the design work several years ago.
The project has been in the works for years, but got bumped up in priority in the late 1990s after more than 250 neighbors submitted petitions to the city asking for quick action to fix the intersection.
The Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency, which targets projects throughout the region to figure out which local road updates are the most important, cited the need to fix the East Road, Union and Wolcott junction as its number one priority in Bristol almost a decade ago.
The plan generally calls for shifting the southern end of Union Street to the east so it would intersect only with East Road.
East Road alone would run into Wolcott Street, a bit south of the current spot where the three roads come together.
The city and state have been targeting misaligned intersections in Bristol for years, trying to fix them where possible.
Nicastro, a former mayor, said he’s been checking on the status of the project for a long time.
He said he recently got word from the state Department of Transportation that a contract had been awarded and construction may begin in early July.
“It’s an intersection that needs to be done,” Nicastro said.
The federal government would pay 80 percent of the final tab with the state picking up the rest.
The project has been talked about for the last 42 years. Officials said the issue first reached City Hall’s agenda in 1966, when initial maps were made.
Nicastro, who also serves on the City Council, said he’s always worried about the children going to school and having to cross the dangerous intersection.
“You have to be truly a brave person to be a crossing guard there,” Nicastro said.
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