ESSEX – In an effort to lessen recurring flooding on Ferry Street, First Selectman Norm Needleman told CT Examiner that the town is asking residents at a special town meeting on Wednesday to approve an appropriation of $100,000 to raise the roadbed about a foot and install a sidewalk on the west side of the street.
Needleman said that he believes the town can complete the project for that amount, and that he will be looking for possible matching grants to help pay for the work.
The base of the street runs along the edge of the river and floods “numerous” times a year, Needleman said.
Closing Ferry Street during flooding forces the town to eliminate parking along Main Street to allow traffic to run in both directions. Normally, Ferry Road brings traffic westbound out of the village after driving in eastbound on the one-way Main Street.
“We make do, thank God it’s never been a serious problem, but it is certainly less than ideal,” he said.
According to Needleman, the town considered other solutions, like installing a railroad crossing gate that would at least keep the town from having to place barriers every time the street floods, but ultimately decided it was best to “kill two birds with one stone” and raise the street, while installing sidewalks at the same time.
He said the town still needs to work with the property owners with driveways on Ferry Street on raising the street and installing the sidewalk. Needleman said that the driveways are a major reason the town could probably never raise the street to a height that it never floods, but he said he hoped raising it a foot would make the flooding far less frequent.