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$1.2M Kings Highway project unlikely to roll until 2015

Photo by Genevieve Reilly

A $1.2 million grant has been secured to make improvements to a stretch of Kings Highway East from Chambers Street to Brentwood Avenue, with the goal to make it more pedestrian and bike friendly.

Although town boards have already approved how $1.2 million in state money will be spent to enhance the Kings Highway East area, Fairfield Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart said it will be about another year before construction starts on the project.

The town recently received formal notification that the $1.2 million grant from the state Department of Transportation, allocated through the federal Transportation Alternatives Program, is in the pipeline. The money is expected to fund most of the project designed to add new sidewalks, bike paths and bicycle racks along a stretch of Kings Highway East, from Chambers Street to Brentwood Avenue, and at the Fairfield Metro train station.

"There are a couple of procedural things we need to take care of," Barnhart said, including finalizing the grant agreement. "We're looking toward the first quarter of next year for getting the design process underway."

That design process, he said, will likely take a year, which will include the opportunity for meetings with the public to provide information about the plans and get input before the design is finalized for construction.

Construction should start in 2015.

The funding will be used to construct new sidewalks and curbs along both the north and south sides of Kings Highway East, as well as median improvements for better pedestrian access and neighborhood aesthetics. American with Disabilities Act-compliant handicap ramps will be installed at intersections, and bicycle amenities, such as racks, signs and bike parking, will also be included, though mostly at the new train station.

It is possible that potential bike routes will be identified along Chambers Street, Kings Highway East and Commerce Drive, with new signs and pavement markings installed.

"This grant allows the town to connect adjoining neighborhoods to the new train station and encourages alternative means of transportation, such as biking and walking, that are more pedestrian friendly," First Selectman Michael Tetreau said.

Those with questions can contact the town Engineering Department at 203-256-3015.

Genevieve Reilly

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