The ALTSP from Pomfret Station to Putnam – Three Culverts, Two Bridges, One Sewer

By Steve Sokoloski

It has been an exciting year for the six mile ALTSP corridor from Pomfret Station to Putnam. This section is home to a major “closing the gap” project. It is a complex multi-phase endeavor that will finish up in 2022. The project now about two thirds complete. It started with a federal USDA loan and grant, using the existing ALSPT trail bed to construct a sewer connection from two private schools with failing septic systems and Pomfret’s a commercial/industrial area to Putnam’s Water Pollution Control Facility. This phase has been completed and the connected users are starting to pay off the loan portion with their sewer fees.

The next and most publicly visible phase of the project was funded by a grant from the CT DOT Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).  This involved the placement of new pedestrian bridges, one over RT 44/169 at Pomfret Station and the second at Needles Eye Road. It also included the construction of three under road box culverts to allow the trail to pass under Holmes Road, Modock Road and River Road. Construction began in March of 2020, and continued through our COVID-19 year, as construction work was only minimally affected by pandemic restrictions.

The media, both local and social, were abuzz when word got around that the new bridges had arrived onsite in late fall and early winter. There were cheers from the gathered crowd as the big cranes swung the prefab bridges into place. The culverts required excavation and detours on local roads, but both Holmes and Modock are done to the point where local traffic is back to normal. The River Road culvert is the last “big piece” to be completed.  The work there is slowed by winter weather. It should be done by spring.

The final phase is being funded by a second round of TAP grant funding. It will correct trail bed drainage issues from construction disturbance and past erosion, resurface the trail to a packed stone dust surface, and will design and construct the tricky connection from the ALSPT trail bed down to the Quinebaug River and connect the ALTSP to the Putnam River Trail and downtown Putnam.

The sad news is that stretch of trail from Pomfret to Putnam (including bridges and culverts) will remain closed to the public during this final phase. The work will require the movement of construction vehicles and materials up and down the trail. It will require construction zone safety protocols to be in place for workers and the public. This part of the ALTSP will be a construction zone for a while longer.

The good news is that a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) has gone out for the for the design and building of this final phase. It will hopefully take just one more construction season to close the gap and extend the ALSPT to Putnam. We can’t hardly stand the wait!