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Mixmaster work begins

July 10th, 2018

REPUBLICAN AMERICAN: Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Mixmaster work begins

Trees cut to make way for a temporary Route 8 bypass


WATERBURY — Tree clearing between the eastern bank of the Naugatuck River and Jackson Street began Monday as workers broke ground on the Mixmaster rehabilitation project.

The state Department of Transportation’s contractor, Walsh Construction, began preliminary work on June 1, but Monday was the first day of physical construction.

Starting at 7:30 a.m., Walsh used a machine equipped with a claw to hold trees in place while a large circular saw chopped them down. In just a couple of hours, about 60 trees east of the Naugatuck River were toppled. Later this week, they will be fed to a chipper and ground to pieces.

The trees are being removed to clear a path for a Route 8 northbound temporary bypass, which will allow the highway to stay open while its deck is replaced. The bypass, which is expected to take a year to build, will feature three bridges — two over the Naugatuck River and one over Freight Street.

The bypass will begin at the South Leonard Street onramp, which will close during the project, and run along Jackson Street east of the river. Then it will cross over to existing Route 8 northbound north of Freight Street.

Before the rehabilitation project is finished, Walsh will remove the bypass and restore the Jackson Street and Riverside Street areas to their current condition.

A homeless encampment off Jackson Street had already been vacated by the time crews arrived Monday morning. Workers began setting up trailers and staging equipment a few weeks ago, giving vagrant residents notice to relocate. 

The $153 million rehabilitation project is expected to extend the Mixmaster’s life another 25 years, keeping it safe until the state can afford to replace it.

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