NEW BRITAIN - Following more than a year of construction, a major part of Columbus Boulevard is beginning to shape up as a new and improved stretch of road in downtown New Britain.
Construction workers have been laboring since last spring to renovate major parts of Columbus Boulevard near Bank Street.
The most significant elements of the project are the installation of the new traffic rotary and the relocation of the city bus hub from Bank Street to designated areas on Columbus Boulevard.
“There’s an adjustment period for sure, but it keeps traffic flowing rather than just standing at a light,” Public Works Director Mark Moriarty said of the new rotary.
The rotary is located just north of the Red Roof Inn parking lot and will accommodate traffic traveling east and west on Columbus Boulevard and Bank Street.
The sculpture that formerly sat in the water fountain in Leo A. Milewski Park, the small park where Columbus Boulevard intersects with Bank Street, will be relocated to the middle of the rotary.
The rotary has lights installed in it to illuminate the sculpture at night.
A new clock tower that reads “The City of New Britain” now sits in Leo A. Milewski Park. Grass and trees will soon be added to finish off the pocket park.
The new central location for city bus routes will be in designated lanes on both sides of Columbus Boulevard, just east of the Main Street intersection.
In addition to these changes, the Columbus Boulevard project also calls for widening sidewalks from Main Street to just past the site of the city’s former police station.
“This whole area was just dysfunctional,” Moriarty said of the old layout of the road. “This is creating a gateway into downtown, better traffic flow into downtown and better access to Szczesny Parking Garage.”
The beginning of the project has roots going back years. In January 2017, the New Britain Common Council authorized a contract of nearly $3.2 million with Morais Concrete Service out of Springfield, Mass., to oversee upgrades along a section of Columbus Boulevard.
The Columbus Boulevard project is expected to be fully completed by the end of fall 2018.
This project is the fourth phase of the city’s Complete Streets and Downtown Livability Master Plan.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.