Long-blocked Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway to reopen in December

SPRINGFIELD — With a major sewer repair project on the east bank of the Connecticut River complete, a long-closed section of the city’s riverside walk and bikeway will reopen in early December.

Some bikeway enthusiasts said this week they are very happy to hear the Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway will finally reopen after being partially blocked for two years.

“Wow,” said Sheila McElwaine, a fan of the 3.7-mile paved path. “Having the riverwalk passable from end to end is something all of us can be thankful for.”

A section of the 3.7-mile path between Liberty Street to Riverfront Park has been closed since November 2015.

Springfield Water and Sewer Commission officials said the bikeway should reopen sometime between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15. With the sewer repairs done, the contractors still must restore the slope and some bike path areas, a spokeswoman said.

Joshua Schimmel, the commission’s executive director, said it was a very complex, but rewarding project. The riverbank work was one segment of a $24 million, federally mandated project to reduce combined sewer overflows to protect the river from contaminants.

“We certainly understand peoples’ disappointment in not being able to ride the full bikeway these past three summers,” Schimmel said. “But we are relieved and proud as this … remediation project nears completion, especially considering the many complexities we had to work through to get to this point.”

The work at the site of the riverwalk included rehabilitating two large combined sewer outfalls, said Jaimye Bartak, a commission spokeswoman. The two structures at the riverfront at the end of Worthington and Bridge Streets were installed between 70 and 100 years ago. Erosion undermined the foundations, she said.

The contractor for the sewer project is P Gioiso and Sons inc. of Hyde Park, Massachusetts.

The work was expected to be done by April 2016. But multiple factors delayed the project, including bad weather and river…

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