A contractor has replaced the broken Guide Rail on the lower portion of Torrington Avenue, where two vehicles recently drove off the roadway and nearly landed in the Farmington River.
The post and wire railing on the road near its intersection with Bridge Street has been replaced with approximately 275 feet of galvanized steel Flex-Beam railing. Used on the section was an "antiqued" version of the product, made to look more rustic.
"It will reflect the historic area quite nicely," Public Works Director Robert Martin said prior to the installation.
But in addition to the look, the system will also provide better protection, officials said. While the Guide Rail, often called Guard Rail, is made to provide some give and won't stop all vehicles, the idea is for it to help "guide" errant vehicles back on the roadway.
Recently two vehicles have veered off the roadway. Most recently on Nov. 11 an elderly couple was sent to the hospital when their car went over the steep embankment. A few weeks earlier a single driver careened off the roadway in the early morning hours. Police are investigating both accidents.
The rail replacement was done by Connecticut-based A&M Fence Company and cost approximately $5,300 but the town will bill the drivers' insurance companies, Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner said.
In addition to the rail on Torrington Avenue, approximately 375 feet of Flex-Beam, in a more traditional silver color, was used to replace wooden railing on Collins Road.
This past year, the town spent $19,000 in guide-rail replacement and will do more over the next two years, Martin said. The Torrington Avenue section would have eventually been up for replacement but the accidents necessitated quicker action, Martin said.