By CRAIG FREILICH
COLTON – The realignment of the S-curve near the southern end of State Rt. 56 that was finished last fall cost about eight percent more, or $381,000 higher, than the original contract called for.
The big curve. with steep walls on one side and steep dropoffs on the other, for decades has been a landmark for travelers in the mountainous terrain coming north from Sevey’s Corners or going south from South Colton along Rt. 56.
When a flash flood along Cold Brook in September 2005 undermined a section of the curve, the state Department of Transportation shored up the roadbed and put a temporary fix in place that permitted traffic controlled by a traffic light to flow through the section again, in one direction at a time, after detours around that part of the road for a time had taken drivers several miles out of their way.
A permanent fix was devised, completely redesigning the roadbed and structure over the brook, to the tune of $4,592,000. Work began last spring.
But in the course of building the new roadway, workers uncovered subsoil conditions that were different from what had been expected.
“With the size and depth of the cut, they ran into differing soil conditions,” said DOT Region 7 spokesman Michael Flick.
“This was not what we expected, but it was what we feared,” Flick said.
“A little re-design” was required, Flick said, that cost an additional $381,000 or about eight percent of the original project cost.
The job was done on time, according to DOT.
That surge in Cold Brook in 2005 also washed out a substantial culvert and a 100-foot section of Route 56 near the French Pond Road south of the Colton town barns. That was quickly repaired.