The Town of Woodbury is taking action to keep people off flooded roads. This comes less than two weeks after Connecticut State Police Sgt. Brian Mohl lost his life there when floodwaters swept his cruiser away.
The town’s Emergency Management Director (EMD) would like to install several safety gates on various bridges. The objective is not to stop floodwaters, but to prevent people from driving on flooded streets.
“The gates will be strategically located so you can’t go around them,” said Woodbury EMD Dave Lampart.
The proposal is to place the gates at four locations. Jack's Bridge, Judson Avenue, Washington Road (Route 47) and Sycamore Avenue (Route 317).
“We know it’s an inconvenience. Just like cones, but you know it’s for safety,” said Lampart
Woodbury’s First Selectman Barbara Perkinson says this is a plan that has been discussed for years. The expectation of future storms and the tragic death of Mohl, however, have reintroduced the discussion.
“This is now the time to do that so that we don’t have anything like this happen again,” Perkinson said.
In the past, town officials have used traffic cones and temporary barriers to divert traffic, but they were unsuccessful.
“If you go back 15, 20 minutes later you’ll see (the cones) kicked off to the side or missing completely,” Lampart said.
Because two of the roads are operated by the state on Routes 47 and 317, Woodbury is hoping the state Department of Transportation will approve and pay for gates needed there. As for the ones on town roads, they are applying for a FEMA grant they say would cover 75% of the taxpayer cost.
In light of the recent tragedy, people we spoke with in town support the project.
“It could potentially save someone’s life,” said Jennifer Moshier.
“If people are a little inconvenienced when there’s a storm, too bad,” said Andree Davis. “It’s for their own protection and it’s for my protection.”
As for a timeline and a total cost of this project, those answers are still unclear. The town says it will begin getting bids from contractors this week.