GUILFORD - Representative Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford) announced this morning that the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) will soon commence the process that will result in creating a Management Plan for Route 146, the thirteen-mile state scenic roadway that runs along the coast of Guilford and Branford.
"Route 146 is one of our greatest treasures but we must develop a long-term plan in order to preserve and protect this treasure and I was proud to secure the Department of Transportation's commitment to do so through the creation of a Management Plan," said Scanlon.
Scanlon said he has worked with Guilford First Selectman Matt Hoey, Branford First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove and the advocacy group Friends of 146 for over a year to encourage the DOT to study the roadway and come up with a sustainability plan. He said the initial impetus for the Management Plan came out of a meeting he, Hoey, and Cosgrove had with DOT Commissioner Joseph Giulietti in 2019 following the department's proposal to build a new bridge known locally as the "crabbing bridge."
"There were many, many concerns about the bridge proposal and fortunately we were able to convince the DOT to hit the pause button but out of the meeting about the bridge began a conversation about the need to actually come up with a long-term game plan for 146," said Scanlon. "The bridge was a hot topic for a brief period of time but things like pedestrian safety, cyclist safety and most of all flooding are things I hear about on a constant basis and are issues that must be studied and addressed."
According to Scanlon, the goal of the Management Plan is to develop a Plan which will:
- Identify and document possible context-sensitive approaches for this portion of Route 146 that protect and enhance the character of the community (such as; open spaces, farmland and historic buildings and sites, land use and patterns of development) which also properly address safety, traffic, resilience and maintenance needs of the roadway corridor.
- Improve communication on the local, regional and State levels through a series of workshops and Public Involvement Meetings to solicit feedback on the needs and desires of the traveling public as well as the communities through which the corridor passes.
- Identify and document key environmental, cultural and historic resources along the corridor, vistas and viewsheds.
- Develop strategies for improving bike and pedestrian accessibility, as the corridor is a designated bike route.
- Develop strategies to address areas of frequent flooding and areas subject to sea level rise to provide a resilient roadway for future generations.
- Identify and address safety concerns through the corridor to improve public safety for all modes of travel.
- Restore the infrastructure to a state of good repair providing a safe and resilient corridor for the next 50 years.
- The Commissioner of Transportation shall form a working group to be chaired by the Commissioner or his designee. The working group shall consist of: the Town Engineers of Branford and Guilford; Representatives from CTDOT from the offices of Design, Maintenance, and Policy & Planning, A representative from CTDEEP, CTSHPO, SCRCOG, CT Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Board ) a representative from the Historical Commissions of Branford and Guilford, and one community member each from Branford and Guilford. The members of this working group will attend a series of workshops and will collaboratively work toward completion of the Management Plan Framework over a period of 12 months.
- 6 months following completion of the framework, the Department shall publish a draft Management Plan for review by the working group, with a final plan issued 2 months later.
- The ultimate goal of the Management Plan will be to balance the need of providing a safe roadway system for all users with the numerous cultural, historical, and environmental resources in the area, respecting the desires of the community, residents and local businesses as well as regulatory requirements and design standards. Future projects in the corridor will include utilizing the Management Plan guidance as part of the development of Project Purpose & Need.
Scanlon said COVID slowed the process down but that he was encouraged the process is about to begin.
"I'm from Guilford and when I tell people I feel so lucky to have grown up here and they ask me why I usually tell them to take a drive on 146 and they get it," said Scanlon. "It represents all the natural beauty that is the Connecticut shoreline and I want to make sure it's there for my kids and their kids to appreciate and enjoy and this plan will certainly help to ensure that."