The first phase of a state-funded roadway project began on Friday morning, in Groton.
The state provided bond funds to Groton to buy an approximately 1 acre parcel of land and the town tore down an old, abandoned building along Crystal Lake Road to make way for major roadwork construction.
The former Fusconi Dry Cleaning business, on the corner of the Crystal Lake Road and Military Highway intersection, has been abandoned for more than 10 years and it’s deteriorating, according to a news release from the Naval Base.
After the demolition and remediation of the site, Groton will use the property to reconfigure the intersection as part of a major upgrade of Crystal Lake Road.
"The end of the Military Highway will be completely reconstructed with a boulevard at the end so that the roadway more appropriately aligns up with the main gate," Groton Town Manager, Mark Oefinger said.
After everything is cleared out, the town plans to next work on the designing aspect of the project, which will include widening the road and improving the Crystal Lake Road and Military Highway intersection, town officials said.
Navy officials said they mainly welcome the aesthetic changes the project will bring to the area near the Naval Submarine Base.
"Make it more friendly for bicycles and commuters and, at one point, turn this into some sort of park," Capt. Marc Denno said.
Business owners in the area said they too look forward to the enhancements.
"Very happy. Very excited about that. I think it's going to look great when it's done," Jeff Karns, who owns Karns Automotive, said.
The Town of Groton expects to have the project completed by 2016.