Traffic study envisions dramatic transformation of Norwich waterfront, downtown roads

Instead of cars whizzing through the waterfront area on multi-lane highways, traffic specialists envision two-way streets, walkways, roundabouts and even a pedestrian “Bridge of Roses” over the Yantic River. The City Council on Monday viewed concepts from a downtown Norwich mobility study that tackled how to fix the 1970s road patterns that raced traffic through Norwich on multi-lane roads with giant speedway signs overhead. Joseph Balskus and Daniel Amutz of VHB Engineers proposed dramatic changes to transform the Norwich Harbor area. The Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments received a $212,500 grant from the state Department of Transportation, with the City of Norwich adding $37,500, to pay for the Chelsea Harbor/Downtown Norwich Mobility Study. Retired SCCOG Executive Director James Butler is managing the project that encompasses the waterfront area, downtown entrances from West Main-Route 82 and East Main-Route 2. Balskus said the group has not yet worked out cost estimates for any of the options. City Manager John Salomone suggested the project could be done in phases, with the Water Street-Chelsea Harbor Drive changes first.

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