Selectmen target flooding on Guilford roadway

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
June 4, 2008

GUILFORD — Construction work on Flag Marsh Road will extend along the length of the throughway after the Board of Selectmen voted this week to expand improvements there.

Selectmen unanimously approved a plan to widen and repave the road from Schoolside Lane through to Route 1. Last year, the Department of Public Works began the same process between Long Hill Road and Schoolside Lane.

The project has been under discussion for years, with voters rejecting a $600,000 plan in April 2007. Using funds from the state and other sources, selectmen decided to go ahead with the initial phase of the work last September.

Flag Marsh connects Long Hill Road with Route 1 and is an important outlet for residents of that area, near Guilford High School. It is a hilly, windy road that frequently floods, leading town officials to push for the reconstruction work.

“There’s no drains on the road — it was never engineered,” First Selectman Carl Balestracci said Tuesday. “It was just a cart path that was tarred.”

But some neighbors are concerned the construction could make the flooding worse.

Town Engineer James Portley said the extended road work will include installing culverts to allow more water to flow through certain areas during storms.

At the meeting, Portley said that remaking the road will be a “balancing act,” because engineers want to alleviate the situation for residents north of the road but not cause more flooding for those downstream.

Kimberly Brockett, who lives on the road, said she is concerned her property will flood if more water is allowed through the culverts.

“I’m afraid this project is going to decrease the value of my property or make it completely unusable for the purpose I bought it for,” Brockett said, referring to keeping horses.

Balestracci said at the meeting that the goal of the project is to decrease the risk of flooding with better drainage and that the town is sensitive to residents’ concerns.

“We want to work with the neighbors,” he said. “We need to improve the road to make it safer. We also need to make sure it blends in with the rest of the neighborhood.”

Trees have already been removed from the Long Hill-Schoolside section of the road, Portley said, and construction is scheduled to begin the week of June 16. The project will then continue through to Route 1, and Portley estimated that paving will be finished by the end of August.

“There’s a lot of school bus traffic on that road because the high school is just north of there,” he said. “We’re going to try to continue working right through, get all the road work done during the summer, get it paved and then do all the landscaping at the end.”

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