Public meeting set on rebuilding road near the Housatonic River

A design public information meeting will take place on the proposed reconstruction of Route 34 in downtown Derby on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Derby City Hall aldermanic chamber, 1 Elizabeth St.

The meeting will focus on plans to redesign and reconstruct Route 34 (Main Street) in Derby’s central business district, just across the Housatonic River from downtown Shelton.

The Valley Council of Governments (VOG), with assistance from the state Department of Transportation (DOT), will hold the meeting to show the current plans to the public and seek input.

VOG and DOT personnel will be available one half-hour prior to the meeting to answer questions about the project plans.

Would be widened to two lanes

The plans calls for widening Route 34 to accommodate two through-lanes in each direction through downtown, from Bridge Street to the north (Bridge Street is the Derby-Shelton Bridge over the river) to the Route 8 intersection. The road now is one lane in both directions in much of this area.

Additional turning lanes would be provided at two Main Street intersections, on-street parking will be provided on both sides of Main Street, and a new parking lot would be between Bridge Street and Elizabeth Street on the south side of Main Street (near where the Derby Greenway begins).

Also, Elizabeth Street would be converted to a one-way street in the southbound direction and additional improvements would be made in drainage, sidewalks, curbing, light fixtures, median islands and traffic signals.

Goal is preventing traffic backups

“The purpose of the project is to improve existing conditions which currently result in traffic backups at key intersections,” according to the plans.

“The widening of the road and addition of travel lanes will improve capacity while a median, narrow and clearly marked lane widths, on-street parking, streetscape features and improved traffic control is intended to clearly channelize and slow traffic down, and thus improve safety while maintaining the downtown feel of this section of Main Street,” states the plans.

A large section of downtown Derby, between Main Street and the Housatonic River, now is mostly vacant and has been slated for redevelopment for years.

Federal and state funding

The rights-of-way and construction phases of the project are expected to be funded under a federal and state cooperative effort to improve traffic circulation and roadway safety in urban areas.

Tentative schedules for the right-of-way acquisition and the construction of this project will be discussed at the Dec. 4 public information meeting.