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Branford’s Coastal Roadways Take a Beating

The town will be working double time to assess infrastructure damage and to work toward restoration.

Town Engineer Janice Plaziak also happens to be the town flood plain manager so she’s got her hands full when it comes to assessing the Tropical Storm Irene brought to town this past week. Working closely with FEMA and FEMA-provided wave action maps, Plaziak stated yesterday that she’s very interested to look at how the storm surge affected costal Branford in regard to her role as the flood plain manager.

“It's been very interesting to me,” she stated, “too see the reach of the waters and the waves and the impact they had on property. It was greater that I anticipated it to be.”

FEMA’s wave action map estimated that waves from Long Island Sound, along Limewood Avenue in Indian Neck, only have an elevation of beach-side of the street, reported Plaziak. As you can see in of the storm surge, the waves were high and big enough to lift the Jersey barriers across the roadway and spray the tops of power lines and homes facing the water. Using observations of the storm, Plaziak said all this information will be considered as she continues to work with FEMA as the flood plain manager to develop new wave action maps.

Focusing the rest of this week and the near future on town infrastructure, Plaziak stated the road erosion on Linden Avenue is by far the town’s biggest concern.

Now barricaded by Jersey barriers, Plaziak stated 700 to 750 feet of Linden Avenue across from Linden Shores in the Pawson park area of town, was compromised due to storm surge. Immediately following the storm, the road was closed; it is now re-opened to local access only and is one lane for the time being.

“The town tried to secure the area as quickly and as safely as possible,” said Plaziak. “I am hoping in the next couple of weeks we can get that secured.”

Plaziak said that representatives from aid organizations will be coming out to Branford as early as today to assess damage and see if the town is eligible for assistance with road repair. Linden Avenue is a town road while Linden Shores privately owns the sea wall, which completely fell out in some parts during the storm surge. The town will need to work with the association, stated Plaziak, as road restoration moves forward.

Because Limewood Avenue is a state road (Rt. 146) Connecticut Department of Transportation was on scene moments after the waters subsided to patch the roadway and begin long-term repair. The irony of this area of town was that the state had spent more than a week repairing the rock and cement seawall just days before the storm; that work is estimated to have been for naught at this point.

As the town continues to monitor roads and coastal areas that have been affected with working with Plaziak, they also urge residents to be on the lookout for damage. Plaziak said “We don’t see as much as the people do living next door to it.” Any town infrastructure damage should be reported to the town Engineering Department at 203-315-0606.

Post-storm, Baker has been assessing the inland areas, stated Plaziak, with a focus on areas where uprooted trees may have caused road damage. Plaziak stated her focus will continue to be the costal area where roads like Linden Avenue, Limewood Avenue, Club Parkway (Pine Orchard), and Pentecost Street (Short Beach) have been compromised.

Please check back for updates on timelines and estimated costs for fixing Branford’s roadways and infrastructure.

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