By RUSSELL JONES
With new pavement laid this past weekend in a critical section of the downtown, linking the newly revised road around the Green to that section of road redone to the north of the downtown, light is truly visible at the end of that proverbial tunnel.
The road construction project that has been going on in Brandon for the past two years, known as Segment 6, is still months from being completely wrapped up but it’s coming tantalizingly close and residents should soon see major relief in the downtown areas.
The project is mostly done on the northern end of town, and along Conant and Grove Streets, with curbs and sidewalks almost finished in those sections. Crescent Park, located next to the Baptist Church, will soon have the fountain’s drainage and water supply features replaced and lights and curbing installed there.
Workers have also begun finish work on the Central Park area. The curbing there is nearly finished, while in the next two months work will be wrapped up on sidewalks, grassy areas and tree grates. The work on Central Park itself should also be completed this summer with improvements made to the two fountains, gratings replaced and grass seeded.
The paving of Center Street from the Town Hall to the bank was completed this past weekend. Workers set the infrastructure — water, sewer and storm drains — and then paved the road. Most of this was done through continuous night work throughout May and early June. The curbs, sidewalks and tree grates will be installed over the next several weeks with the sidewalks being done at night.
Once this work is completed, Segment 6 through Brandon will be mostly finished, with only the Franklin Street portion remaining. The project organizers expect this should ease some of the traffic burden that has plagued motorists on Route 7 for the past two summers and hampered businesses in the downtown.
“The previous work had multiple in-roads and side roads, with curves and complications under the roadway in a busy area,” said Bernie Carr, the Segment 6 public information officer. “Franklin Street will be a straight shot of road with few side roads coming in, but many different ways to detour around it.”
Work is already underway on the Franklin Street infrastructure and once it is complete, all that will be left for the project will be the box cut of Franklin and the curbing and planting, which is scheduled for September. A final paving of the entire stretch of road is expected to be completed in October.
The project’s completion should give a boost to downtown businesses that have kept a united front of positivity, though many have said they have been struggling financially throughout the construction.
“Once the work is done, it’s going to be a more beautiful area,” Carr said. “It should all be done before the foliage season starts and tourists drive through. I think Brandon is going to be even more of a destination than before.”