Seymour ‘underwhelmed’ with DOT’s work on dilapidated fence

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SEYMOUR >> The state Department of Transportation recently made repairs to the dilapidated fencing running alongside Cedar Street, prompted by town officials’ concerns for residents’ safety.


However, Selectman Len Greene Jr. said he is “underwhelmed” by the DOT’s response.


“We sent photos of the fence with the initial letter, including photos of a section that had completely collapsed to the ground,” Greene said. “The DOT ‘repaired’ this section with a patch that isn’t even sized properly. Additionally they haven’t bothered to address any of the remaining issues, including another section on Derby Avenue that has collapsed.”


Greene said he drove down Cedar Street earlier this week, and counted “no less than 33 breaks and areas of the fence that are so bent and dilapidated that they would need serious attention.”


While Greene acknowledged that he is not an engineer, he believes he’s qualified to realize that the state needs to completely replace the fence before any tragedies occur there.


The fencing in question, owned by the DOT, runs parallel to Route 8 through the town and is next to several residential neighborhoods and highly visible commercial zones.


The Board of Selectmen recently wrote to state DOT Commissioner James Redeker, imploring him to address long-overdue repairs to the fence.


Redeker responded to the selectmen in a letter dated May 7. The letter, in part, read “The Department of Transportation has reviewed these concerns,” and the fence “ is being inspected from Route 334 to Route 313 for damage from vandalism, car strikes and trees that may have fallen on the fence.”


Greene said while one section was repaired, although with a replacement section that was too large, other areas remain in bad shape. Greene plans to raise the issue once again during this Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Town Hall.


Greene said he hopes for a report from the DOT by then and said, “As a state representative I asked the DOT to address this in 2011 and again pressed them in 2012. They ignored these requests then, and haven’t been responsive up to this point.”


One of Greene’s biggest fears is that a child living nearby can run out of their front yard and make a dash onto the highway across the street, because the fence isn’t adequate to keep them safe.


DOT spokesman Judd Everhart said the DOT is “fixing areas they can fix without parts. We have ordered the parts we need (and) when they arrive we will finish the work. That fence is between 2 and 3 miles long. There are no plans to replace it entirely.”


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