GROTON AND NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — The Wednesday morning commute was a little slower than some crossing the Gold Star Memorial Bridge expected. But lane closures and merging traffic could soon be the norm on the shoreline span which is the longest in the state.
“Since I grew up here I know… I’m thinking tourist season it’s going to be… it’s horrible here during the summer anyway so it’s not going to be a place you want to be,” said Joyce Plisinski who lives in the Gales Ferry section of Ledyard.
On Monday an overhaul of the bridge’s southbound side built in 1973 begins. The project includes structural steel repairs, concrete deck patching, replacing expansion joints, and re-paving.
“It’s going to be hard I don’t know how the businesses are going to deal with it,” said Plisinski. “It will affect them.”
Krunal Patel who owns Gus’s Pizza in Groton says the construction could cook up trouble for him.
“Today it took me like twenty to twenty five minutes,” said Patel. “So it’s… I was stopped there for almost ten minutes.”
He’s concerned customers who usually cross the bridge to grab lunch won’t anymore if they are delayed on their way back.
“A lot of worry because my delivery cause we deliver everywhere so it’s going to take us a hard time,” said Patel.
The $30 million project on the southbound side is expected to be complete in the Fall of 2018. But that’s the smaller project. The bigger project the $200 million project on the northbound side
is expected to begin in the Spring of 2018 and could last years.
That project includes replacing big sections of the steel understructure of the 1943 span along with the decking.
“My husband said it might be time to retire so maybe it won’t be so long for us,” said Plisinski who plans to take the Mohegan-Pequot bridge in Preston to get across the Thames River when construction begins.
But for those living right along the shoreline that’s not necessarily a convenient option.
Even with the lane closures the Gold Star Memorial Bridge is said to be wide enough so that at least a couple of lanes will remain open to keep traffic flowing.