Traffic spike expected when new cottages open
By Scott Bellile
Fremont Street will get a fresh layer of asphalt pavement to prepare for a rise in traffic when Beacon Avenue Cottages opens this fall.
The New London City Council unanimously approved the $14,915 contract with Greenville-based Northeast Asphalt at its meeting on Aug. 8.
The mill and overlay project will be completed this fall as work wraps up on Beacon Avenue and the cottages, Mayor Gary Henke said at the council meeting.
The city’s contract with NEA states the job must be completed by Oct. 15.
The project is not part of the city’s 2017 budget. It will be paid for with money from the assigned capital projects fund.
Henke suggested the Fremont Street improvement at the New London Finance and Personnel Committee meeting on Aug. 2.
All the tenants who will reside at the Beacon Avenue Cottages complexes on the north side of Beacon Avenue after they open in October will come and go via one driveway on Fremont Street.
Fremont Street “is really in bad shape,” Henke said.
He said the condition of Fremont Street should match the street it intersects, East Beacon Avenue. The latter will soon be in “great” shape because a road widening and sanitary sewer replacement project is about to be completed, Henke said.
NEA already has crews in town laying asphalt for Beacon Avenue and the cottages.
New London Finance Director Judy Radke said the city will save taxpayer dollars by tapping NEA to perform the mill and overlay because the company is already in town.
Radke added NEA crews will cause less interruption to citizens by doing mill and overlay while other construction is underway in the neighborhood.
“Nothing makes the taxpayers more mad than when they see [contractors return to the area a year after a major project] and they’re like, ‘Why couldn’t you have done that last year when all those people were already there?’” Radke said.
Many New London residents may not be familiar with Fremont Street because of its size and location.
Fremont Street 288 feet long. City Mapping and Media Specialist Missy Kempen told the Press Star it is the third shortest street in town, after two downtown streets, Park Street (280 feet) and State Street (266 feet).
Fremont Street runs north to south and connects East Cook Street to East Beacon Avenue. It has been quiet there since the abutting Simmons Juvenile Products company closed in 2005.
There is one household with a Fremont Street address. That house was destroyed in a grill fire on June 10.
Beacon Avenue Cottages is a 40-unit affordable housing development set to open this fall on the old Simmons site. Approximately half of the units are located on the north side of Beacon Avenue at the Fremont Street intersection. The others are located on the south side of Beacon Avenue.