November 26, 2014

CT Construction Digest Novembe 26, 2014

Is this a sign of times to come???? GAS Jobs Produce Labor Shortage

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — There's all sorts of speculation about Greeley's latest problem.
Maybe it coincided with a massive oil and gas boom.
Maybe it has something to do with values or education or training.
Whatever it is, there are a lot of "Help Wanted" signs in and around Greeley and hiring managers are worried. "We are in a labor shortage," said Kevin Aten, chief human resources officer for the Greeley-Evans School District 6. "We're in direct competition for some entry-level jobs. It's here, it's Loveland, it's Fort Collins, northern Colorado, and our friends in Sterling say it's just spreading."
Workers of all levels and pay grades are at a premium in Greeley, from unskilled labor positions to the high paying energy industry jobs, even higher-level corporate positions.
Companies have raised pay, improved benefits and working conditions — they're even offering sign-on bonuses to attract and retain staff.
Companies are not only faced with a shrinking pool of applicants and higher wage expectations, but applicants with varied skill levels, commitment, and frankly, a less motivated work ethic.
Together they've created a growing concern about the future of the workforce in Weld.
"It's not an easy answer by any stretch of the imagination," said Cathy Schulte, senior vice president of Upstate Colorado Economic Development. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
EAST HAMPTON >> Construction has begun on the high school as part of a $51 million renovation and expansion project. “A lot has happened in a week’s amount of time,” Superintendent of Schools Diane Dugas told the Board of Education during their regular meeting Monday.  “We’re getting ready to move four classrooms,” which “has slightly reduced the cafeteria space,” Dugas told the board members. If the various oversized trucks and earth-moving equipment parked in various locations in front of the school wasn’t enough of a reminder of the developing project, a gleaming new silver support pillar stood in the middle of the library/media center where the school board meets. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Griswold's Bitgood Road Bridge to officially reopen tomorrow

GRISWOLD - A ribbon cutting ceremony tomorrow will officially reopen the Bitgood Road bridge over H opeville Pond.The road has been closed since April as Hemlock Construction, the same company working on repairs to the bridge over Pachaug Pond on Route 165, carried out the project.Unlike the bridgework on Route 165, a state project, the Bitgood Road improvements were overseen by the town. Finance Director Erik Christensen said the project has cost $1.3 million to date, about 80 percent of which is covered by federal funds.

Rocky Hiil OK's plan for new intermediate school

ROCKY HILL — Town leaders have given their enthusiastic backing to a proposed grade 4 to 5 intermediate school that would be constructed along with a planned new elementary magnet aerospace academy. The town council approved a series of resolutions at a special meeting Monday that set in motion what educators say would be an unprecedented, collaborative project between the town, the Capitol Region Education Council and the State of Connecticut. The state would contribute up to 95 percent of the cost of the intermediate school and local residents would have access to the playing fields and facilities of both schools. In return, Rocky Hill would commit to a dramatic increase in Open Choice enrollment, a program established to reduce desegregation and racial isolation in Hartford by increasing minority enrollment in suburban districts.
"To me, this is truly a home run,'' council member Bill MacDonald said. "Imagine someone is going to build your house and charge only 5 percent of the cost. How would you say no?" CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Developers propose $20M sports complex in Berlin

ERLIN — A $20 million, 265,000-square-foot indoor sports complex has been proposed for 58-acre site off the southern end of Berlin Turnpike south of Meadow Lane, town officials said Thursday. The complex is proposed by Washington Management LLC of Hamden, which hopes to get financing and land-use approval by next summer so construction can start by fall 2015, project architect Tom Arcari said during an announcement at town hall. He said he hopes the facility can open in 2016.
The building will have two indoor mutipurpose fields for soccer, lacrosse, football, field hockey, rugby and baseball infields; three collegiate-size basektball courts, a running track, a climbing wall, a store, health and fitness center and a restaurant.  The meeting to announce the project was attended by Mayor Rachel Rochette, Town Manager Denise McNair and Economic Development Director James Mahoney. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Local concern grows in Glastonbury about gas pipeline expansion, fracking waste

A proposed expansion of a gas pipeline that traverses Glastonbury has many concerned about the construction impact, as well as the fracking process from which the natural gas comes, and the potential for fracking wasted dumps becoming part of the Connecticut landscape.
The Algonquin natural gas pipeline runs from New Jersey to just north of Boston, and essentially bisects both Connecticut and the town of Glastonbury. The pipeline crosses underneath the Connecticut River from Rocky Hill near the intersection of Old Maid's Lane and Tryon Street.
Glastonbury resident Jennifer Siskind, a local coordinator with Food & Water Watch, lead a presentation at the Connecticut Audubon Society's Center at Glastonbury called "Impacts of Natural Gas Pipeline Expansions on Glastonbury and Beyond" on Nov. 19. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Proposed exit 33 in Stratford equals ghost town for Milford's Devon reidents

MILFORD >> A conceptual plan by the state Department of Transportation to relocate Exit 33 off Interstate 95 to alleviate congestion in Stratford has prompted small-business owners in the Devon section of Milford, and others, to launch a fight against the plan. The exit relocation concept was considered in 2006, but was stopped by protests from business owners and legislators on the Milford side of the Moses Wheeler Bridge, largely because the Devon section of the city depends on business of customers who drive through after coming off Exit 33. At a press conference Tuesday, environmental officials, business owners and politicians said they are calling upon the Board of Aldermen and state legislators to introduce legislation that would keep the project from happening.
Former Speaker of the House Jim Amann, also the former chairman of the Devon Revitalization Committee, said the exit relocation doesn’t make sense to Devon after 10 years of work to revitalize the area. He noted that when the Moses Wheeler Bridge was closed for construction years back, many great Devon businesses closed because the area became a ghost town.“Neither Devon, nor Milford — nor even Stratford — can afford the economic impact to our tax bases and the loss of revenue our businesses will face as a result of this redesign,” Amann said. Amann added that he hates to see one city “pitted against another.” CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Naugatuck merchants worried about impact of bridge construction project

NAUGATUCK -- Now that money has come in for Naugatuck to repair the Whittemore Bridge on Maple Street, the borough must devise a plan for construction. The more than $6.2 million worth of repairs will likely begin in the spring, and officials will soon begin planning traffic patterns during construction. At least a couple of downtown merchants are concerned about how the project, which will take two construction seasons to complete, will affect business. "We've always wondered whether it would be closed one way or whether it would be two-way during construction because it will impact our business," said Marco Nardelli, a co-owner of Nardelli's Grinder Shoppe on Maple Street, about 200 feet west of the bridge. "We would definitely prefer two-way traffic, otherwise it would cause a hardship for our business." Preliminary indications from the borough are that the bridge will be open one way only going eastbound -- from the center of the borough toward the highway and the east side. They have long said that would be the safest and most cost-effective process.Nardelli said if it needs to be one-way, he would prefer traffic to come westbound into the borough from the highway."We're there for the convenience of our customers and one way going eastbound is certainly not going to be convenient," he said, adding that the company's billboard ads  on Route 8 say "easy on, easy off." Fire Chief Ken Hanks, who will have input on the decision, said he has spoken to Nardelli and Howie Rosenblatt, owner of Rosenblatt's Department Store, also on Maple Street. He said while he hears their concerns, the safest thing is for one-way traffic to go eastbound."We've had some preliminary planning done, but now that we have the money in, I'm sure we will discuss it more in the near future," Hanks said, adding that a temporary traffic light for  emergency responders could be an alternative. Burgess Bob Neth, chairman of the Five Year Capital Committee that recommended funds for the project, said he has also heard from business owners and hopes to find a way that will satisfy everyone. He said officials plan to discuss this next week. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

November 25, 2014

CT Construction Digest November 25, 2014

NYC grand jury finds $10M in goverment contract fraud

 NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City grand jury says more than $10 million that was supposed to go to minority- and women-owned contractors on government construction projects instead was diverted to other businesses over a decade.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. unveiled the findings Monday. One contractor has been indicted on scheming to defraud and other charges so far, and the probe is continuing.
New York City and state both set goals for minority- and women-owned businesses to get certain percentages of government contracting work.
But the grand jury found some contractors generated phony invoices and otherwise faked claims that they got services or supplies from minority and female businesses.
The report's recommendations include changing the scheming to defraud law to allow tougher penalties for bigger-dollar schemes.
BRIDGEPORT – The planned January 5, 2015 opening of a new 18,000 square-foot addition to Black Rock School has been pushed back to the end of January, city officials confirmed over the weekend.
The addition, more than a year in the making, will add 10 new classrooms, a multipurpose room that can serve as a gymnasium and assembly space, elevator access to all floors to make it ADA compliant, two new playground structures and a new entrance area on School Street. The addition was designed by Newman Associates of New Haven and Bismark Construction is the construction manager. The addition will cost $8.8 million, with the state paying 80 percent.

Griffin's Phoenix Crossing horizontal work progresses

November 24, 2014

CT Construction Digest November 24, 2014

Sacred Heart celebrates "Topping Off" of athletic complex

This week marked a milestone in the construction of Convent of the Sacred Heart’s new athletic complex. Its final steel beam was raised to the summit of the facility during a “Topping Off” ceremony Thursday. The athletic complex is the cornerstone of $25.5 million construction project that also includes a new dining room with an outdoor dining terrace, an outdoor commons area featuring an amphitheater, new playgrounds and an alumnae walk. When completed, the athletic complex will cover 35,000 square feet and incorporate a variety of needs, including a multipurpose space for all-school liturgies, assemblies and other major events. The groundbreaking took place last May, and the complex is scheduled to open in September 2015. Here’s more about the ceremony from Kathleen Failla, Sacred Heart’s director of public relations and communications:
“In the days preceding the Topping Off, members of Sacred Heart’s Class of 2015 and the student representatives of the Lower and Middle Schools signed the beam. The beam bore the school’s colors – it was painted white and signatures were green.
“Hoisted by a crane, the beam was expertly lifted from its temporary perch in front of The Barat Center for Early Childhood Education. The preschool and pre-kindergarten students and their teachers had a front row seat. The children excitedly scrambled along the porch railing for a view of the action. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Redecker: DOT pledges to enhance transportation center

In recent weeks, much has been written about the Connecticut Department of Transportation's plans for improvements at the Stamford Transportation Center, and, most frequently, about station parking. The department and designated developer, Stamford Manhattan Development Ventures, are close to an agreement to move forward with a new parking garage. We believe it is now timely to present clear, factual information that seems to sometimes get lost in the din. We have been working with and listening to city officials, commuters and other citizens -- all of whom have provided valuable input that has and will continue to help shape our plans. Simply stated, here is our commitment to everyone: Even during construction, there will never be fewer parking spaces than there are today.
The final project will have 273 more spaces than are currently available.
All parking will have direct access to station platforms. The 2004 garage (with 1,200 spaces) will remain. The old 1987 garage will be demolished and replaced by parking facilities, including commuter parking spaces, and transit-oriented development of commercial, retail, hotel and housing enhancements. Traffic and taxi circulation will be improved. Bicycle and pedestrian access will be enhanced, including a new pedestrian bridge. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Terryville Tunnel makes the list for rail repairs

PLYMOUTH — The longest railroad tunnel in Connecticut, which opened 103 years ago just west of Pequabuck, is little-used today but could prove a critical piece for the potential renewal of passenger rail service in the region. Consultant Stephen Gazillo, director of transportation planning for the Rocky Hill-based URS Corp, said it was once the longest bored tunnel in the United States, featured on postcards and renowned as “a major engineering feat.” At the time, it cost $3 million to construct — the equivalent of more than $75 million today — and required years of hard labor by hundreds of workers who often used picks and shovels. Regrettably, the years haven’t been kind to the tunnel, which is 3,850 feet long. “There hasn’t been a lot of work done to it,” he said, since the first train rolled through it at 11:33 a.m. on Jan. 29, 1911. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Meriden HUB project continues to move forward

MERIDEN — Passing by the 14-acre Meriden Hub site on a daily basis, it’s difficult to discern the progress of crews working to convert the former downtown commercial site into a park, with two portions of the property available for private development.
But the park is taking shape, said Public Works Director Robert J. Bass.  “I’m sure some people looking on wonder, do they really know what they’re doing?” Bass said, because on any given day, work at the site can look random. “It probably doesn’t make sense to people on top.”
Bass refers to those looking on from outside the project as “on top” because the park, located between State and Pratt streets, dips below street level to hold water in the event of a major downtown flood. People often forget that the project is part of a state-funded, $14 million flood control upgrade taking place throughout the city, he said. In just the last month, groundwater and runoff seen at the center of the site throughout the last several months was drained so that the general contractor — Meriden-based LaRosa Construction — could begin shaping the channel that will hold Harbor Brook. Spectators looking on can now see an outline of the channel, which curves through the middle of the property. This is the path the brook will take once it begins flowing above ground once more, Bass said. Construction crews uncovered a portion of the brook in the southwest corner of the property just over a month ago. Previously, the brook had been covered for more than 40 years, traveling through two underground culverts. The culverts are buried beneath the construction site and run parallel to East Main Street and the former Church and Morse building until the brook is revealed. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
Mohegan - Despite recent blows to its expansion efforts, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority wants to keep pursuing projects. "Probably a more controlled way for us to expand is to look at things we can purchase, either ourselves or with partners," Mitchell Etess, the authority's chief executive officer, said Thursday following a conference call with financial analysts. "We're refocusing our resources away from hearings and presentations and into analyzing opportunities. We're not letting these recent disappointments inhibit our efforts or our enthusiasm." On Tuesday, a partnership involving the authority failed to win a casino license issued for Philadelphia. In September, the authority's plan to build a $1.1 billion resort in Revere, Mass., was dashed when Massachusetts gaming regulators awarded the sole Greater Boston casino license to Wynn Resorts.The authority still hopes to win a license for a project it has proposed in New York state's Catskills region. And, officials said, the authority could soon proceed with a $120 million, 400-room hotel project at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, as well as an Indian casino project in Washington state, where it's partnered with the Cowlitz Tribe. Hotel construction is set to begin early next year, pending the completion of a financing agreement between the authority and the Mohegan Tribe. When the hotel is completed, the tribe will lease it to the authority, Mario Kontomerkos, the authority's chief financial officer, said. The hotel will be attached to Mohegan Sun in the vicinity of its Winter Casino and Winter Garage areas. Authority officials said the long-dormant Cowlitz casino project got a boost late last month when the federal government announced it will take into trust for the tribe a 152-acre reservation near La Center, Wash. Once the land transaction takes place, the Mohegan authority can begin designing the proposed casino. Kontomerkos said the authority has made a substantial investment in the land and plans no additional capital outlay in the project. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

November 21, 2014

CT Construction Digest November 21, 2014

Rail study rules Bristol freight line repair necessary

BRISTOL — A $1.25 million rail study slated for completion by late spring has determined that the existing 29-mile freight line running through Bristol needs a major overhaul.
Consultant Stephen Gazillo, director of transportation planning for the Rocky Hill-based URS Corp., said Thursday that examining the condition of the Pan-Am Railroad tracks and infrastructure has been “the big focus” of the study. It turns out, he said, “a lot of the wood ties are in poor condition” or “just plain missing.” In addition, there are areas where sand and silt has built up beside the tracks, leaving the necessary drainage “all messed up.” A tunnel in Terryville also needs work, consultants said. By repairing the tracks, officials said Thursday during a meeting of the Central Connecticut Rail Study Advisory Committee, Pan-Am will be able to move its trains faster and perhaps get more business. “Manufacturing requires rail,” said Jim Albert, president of the Bristol-based Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce. “Freight is a critical piece.” A comprehensive study of the freight business is supposed to be done within weeks. It is not clear how much it would cost.
The study is looking into a variety of options for the little-used, privately-owned rail line, including the possibility of commuter rail or the use of self-propelled diesel railroad passenger cars that wouldn’t require a separate engine. The study is also looking into a possible extension of the CTfastrak system — the bus route slated to open next spring between New Britain and Hartford. Some branded buses and commuter bus stops tied to the new bus rapid transit system are also under consideration. Anna Bergeron, a transportation planner for the state Department of Transportation, said a ridership study is also underway. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Islam's 49-unit Hartford apartment plan emerges

Engineer-developer Abul Islam has gotten state and city funding commitments to proceed with opening a $17.7 million, six-story office-apartment tower in downtown Hartford's Constitution Plaza within two years, authorities say. Residences at Riverview will have 49 upscale apartments atop some 16,000 square feet of street-level office-retail space on No. 3 Constitution Plaza, said James Keach, associate vice president and project leader for Islam's AI Engineers in Middletown. The site once held the razed Broadcast House, previously home to WFSB Channel 3, now in Rocky Hill.
Boston architect Childs-Bertman-Tseckares is in final design stages for the building, Keach said via email this week. Construction is set to begin early next year, with occupancy scheduled for mid-2016.
Eight apartments will be earmarked as affordable, authorities said. AI Engineers, too, is slated to relocate its Middletown headquarters to downtown Hartford once the building opens.
As recently as 2012, Islam was pitching for the Broadcast House site he owns a 12-story tower, with 195 affordable and market-rate apartments and office-retail and a $53 million pricetag.
According to Michael Freimuth, CEO of the Capital Region Development Authority, the state and city have pledged funding for the project. CRDA is promoting conversion of outmoded older office spaces and buildings downtown into at least 1,100 units so far of apartments and condominiums that appeal to young professionals and older residents eager to shrink their living spaces and commutes.
The recent State Bond Commission granted a restructuring of CRDA's investment in the deal to provide a loan and equity totaling $4.2 million. In addition, he said, the city of Hartford is putting up $973,000; the state Housing Department is putting in $1.8 million. A loan from an unidentified lender accounts for $8 million, and the AI/Abul equity sum is $2.7 million.

New Hartford voters approve $5M in repairs

NEW HARTFORD >> Two major maintenance projects in town have received the green light after residents voted “yes” to both in a referendum Thursday night. The much needed renovation to the Ann Antolini School’s roof and the replacement of the Carpenter Road Bridge have each been slated to begin in 2015. Unofficially, 306 New Hartford residents voted “yes” to the roof repair, to 95 “no” votes. The bridge tally was much closer: including absentee ballots ,the vote passed 202 “yes” votes to “198” no votes. The vote does not qualify for a recount, First Selectman Dan Jerram said.
“We know that these were expensive issues to be put before the people in really still an uncertain economy,” Jerram said. “We’re happy that the voters chose to do appropriate maintenance for our town, especially our school.”
Earlier this year, the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance each unanimously approved both projects. The replacement of Ann Antolini School’s leaking 60,000 square foot roof, as well as windows and air handlers will cost a total of $3,500,000. The original cost was $4,571,000, Jerram said, but state grant money has reduced it by more than $1 million. A total of $250,000 will be spent on ADA code upgrades. The project is scheduled to be completed over the summer recess of 2015. The annual bond cost for the project will be roughly $288,000. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Could tolls end the I-95 traffic nightmare through CT

Highway tolls are again being discussed in Connecticut as part of an 18-month study conducted by the state Department of Transportation. It's got road planners asking an interesting question, can one type of toll actually reduce traffic? It's called congestion pricing. "The idea is that when it's very congested, when there's lots of demand, the price goes up in order to encourage some number of drivers to either postpone their trip, carpool, or figure out some way to not be on the lanes at that very expensive time," said Asha Weinstein Agrawal, a transportation scholar at San José State University.
 Weinstein Agrawal said the idea hinges on giving drivers a choice. For example, travel on a highway for free during "off-peak" hours or pay a toll during rush hour to travel in a less-jammed-up "express" lane. "The way congestion builds up on the road, you don't actually have to get everybody off to remove the congestion. There's usually a fairly small tipping point," she said.  That tipping point is hard to quantify, but it's pretty small. Some say around 5 percent of total traffic. And diverting that percentage of drivers could make a big difference in Connecticut. Take, for example, the I-95 corridor from New York to New Haven. According to the state Department of Transportation, congestion increased there by 19 percent between 2001 and 2011.  "The problems on I-95 South are extremely severe," said Tom Maziarz, chief of policy and planning at the Connecticut DOT. "You're looking at conditions out there where the traffic backup, at its peak, can get over 20 miles in length. That's on a regular basis. That's not the exception. That's the rule."  Maziarz said those backups don't last for the normal rush hour period, but for four hours both in the morning and in the afternoon, which costs money. About $670 million annually, stemming from things like delayed truck deliveries or late arrivals to work. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

November 20, 2014

CT Construction Digest November 20, 2014

Bond Commission funds new Metro North span

The State Bond Commission approved $53.7 million to cover the state's the first chunk of funding to design a replacement span for the often malfunctioning 118-year-old Norwalk River swing bridge on the New Haven Line.  The money is the state's share to be eligible for $161 million in federal storm resiliency grant funding to replace the 562-foot span known as the WALK bridge, which has had trouble closing when it rotates to let boats pass for years.   The bridge broke twice in May disrupting commutes when the gears that move the bridge failed to return the bridge to the closed position, bringing rail traffic through Connecticut to a halt.  The state Department of Transportation has begun receiving proposals from both the designer and eventual contractor to build the bridge by a scheduled 2020 deadline, DOT Commissioner Jim Redeker said Wednesday.  By hiring a firm to build the bridge at the outset of the design phase, Redeker said the builder can consult on the design to iron out potential delay-causing snags in advance of construction to keep the project on schedule. Work is scheduled to begin in 2017. "It's a more productive approach for a project that is frankly very, very, very difficult to build and will hopefully allow the project to be done faster than normal," Redeker said.  CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Downtown plan receives extension

BRISTOL — After a 50-minute closed-door executive session, board members for the nonprofit overseeing the revitalization of the former mall site unanimously agreed Wednesday to give Renaissance Downtowns until March 31 to finish the financing plan for its first building.
The seven-member panel extended the deadline from Jan. 31 — the date it set last month — to match the timing that city councilors called for last week. The BDDC also agreed to let its chairwoman, Jennifer Arasimowicz, and its vice chairman, John Lodovico, negotiate further details with Renaissance and the city to refine changes to the 2010 preferred developer that gave Renaissance the exclusive right to build on the 15-acre mall site in the city center. It is not clear what details remain to be negotiated, but several officials have said they are unlikely to pose any serious problems that delay final passage of the required amendment to the legal agreement. If the terms are finished and approved as expected, Renaissance will have about four months to figure out how to finance a five-story building facing Main Street that would include rental housing and about 20,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

$4.9M OK'd for city projects

The State Bond Commission approved more than $6 million in funding Wednesday morning for a variety of projects in New Britain and Bristol. In New Britain, the commission OK’d $1.05 million for a roof replacement at the Superior Court building; $850,000 for road improvements along Route 71 and at the Route 9 northbound off-ramp to Route 71; $840,031 for facility upgrades at E.C. Goodwin Technical High School; $545,272 for renovations to the Farrell Treatment Center; $500,000 each for Slade and Pulaski schools for facility and equipment upgrades; $449,400 for modifications to the New Britain High School Satellite Academy and for computer technology at the school; and $190,000 to DiLoreto for facility and equipment upgrades.
In Bristol, the commission approved bonding $1.3 million for bridge improvements on Memorial Boulevard over the Pequabuck River; $360,000 to replace outdated equipment and upgrade machines at Bristol Technical High School; and $70,000 for new lights at Bristol Eastern High School’s athletic fields. The infusion of funds for Goodwin Tech and Bristol Technical High School was part of a $5 million statewide bond package — strongly supported by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy — for manufacturing programs at Connecticut’s technical high schools. The money is also paying for new extended-hours programs at those schools. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Ancient technology will be used on Meriden hydro-electric project

MERIDEN — Technology attributed to the ancient Greek scientist Archimedes may allow water spilling over the city-owned Hanover Pond dam to produce up to 900,000 kilowatts of electricity annually, saving nearly $20,000 a year in power costs and property taxes over 20 years.
The project is the first of its kind in the state, and one of the first in the country, said Christian Conover, chief marketing officer for Massachusetts-based New England Hydropower Co. A similar project is being planned in West Warwick, R.I.  During a meeting at the dam Wednesday afternoon, Sarah Faldetta, senior project manager for New England Hydropower, said the company plans to use Archimedes’ “screw generator technology, ” which is used in Europe. The company proposes to install a large screw underground next to Hanover dam. Water is diverted into the screw at the top of the dam and forces the screw to slowly spin, creating electricity. The project’s electricity would be fed into the Connecticut Light & Power grid. The city would then buy the electricity back with vouchers expected to save $298,000 over 20 years. Over the same 20 years, the property taxes are expected to total $110,000 CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
WINSTED >> Representatives from the engineering firm in charge of the Holabird Avenue Bridge repairs outlined the specifics of the project to members of the public and the Inland Wetlands Commission Wednesday night. The poor condition of the bridge, especially its degrading deck, has led local officials to create a plan to permanently improve the bridge, with work set to begin in the spring of 2016. The estimated completion date is May 2017. Jay Costello and John Wengell of WMC Consulting Engineers, renderings in hand, described an entire project that is barely 400 feet long. The engineering firm plans to widen the bridge out so that the road has a 32-foot width throughout the project area as well as add a new superstructure and deck to the worn-out, pothole-ridden bridge.
Holabird Avenue and Whiting Street will need to be closed for the entirety of construction—roughly 360 days—and will detour traffic to both the north and south. Pedestrian traffic, which mostly comes from students of nearby Northwestern Connecticut Community College, would also need to be rerouted. A fair amount of utility work will also need to be done in the area. This road closure is still a long time out, however. Ninety percent of the design is done and submitted and Wednesday night, following the presentation, the Inland Wetlands Commission unanimously accepted WMC’s application. Costello said that they hope to have all the permits accepted and ready to go by August 2015 and could begin construction in early 2016. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

November 19, 2014

CT Construction Digest November 19, 2014

Click Below
Todays Bond Commission Agenda

$850K on the way for Costco project

HARTFORD — The state bond commission is expected to approve an $850,000 Department of Economic and Community Development grant today for work on the Costco store project.
The funds will provide a grant-in-aid to the City of New Britain to finance road improvements along Route 71 (Hartford Road) and at the Route 9 northbound off ramp to Route 71. The grant will accommodate development of a Costco store adjacent to the Target store. Mayor Erin Stewart said she expects to attend the session at the legislative office building along with state Rep. Betty Boukus, a co-chairperson of the state bonding committee. “This was an integral part of the tax abatement, tax modification agreement during the Common Council debate [over Costco],” Stewart said. “I assured the council I would do everything in my power to lobby the state for these development dollars.”
Stewart also thanked Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. “If she wasn’t so receptive to my phone calls, we wouldn’t be receiving this money,” Stewart said. In addition to the tax modification agreement, the mayor said there was the promise that the city would still press the state for additional funds.
“These funds are to redo the entry way so Costco can have its own entrance,” she explained, “and for the grading of all that land which is pretty costly.” Stewart said she was extremely pleased “this development can now go much faster. I thank our partners at the state for realizing how much of a priority this economic development opportunity is for the city and helping make it a reality.” CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Opening of new wing at Maloney High school in Meriden is pushed back

MERIDEN — The estimated opening of the new wing at Maloney High School was pushed back a week at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.  The wing should be open by Nov. 28, said board member John Lineen, who also serves on the city’s School Building Commission. The project manager for the Maloney construction estimated last week that it would be open by Nov. 18, depending on building inspections.  Assistant Superintendent Michael S. Grove said that “about 85 percent” of the new furniture should have been moved into the new wing by the time students and teachers move.  “We’re planning to open with all the new technology. Smart boards are going in now, computers and Wi-Fi will all be set up before students get there,” Grove said.
The only pieces missing would be student desks and chairs, he said, which should be delivered a few weeks after the opening.  It was a similar situation at Platt High School when students and teachers moved in.  They brought with them desks, chairs, and other equipment from the old building into the new wing, which they used until recently, when the new furniture was delivered.
Both high schools are in the middle of extensive renovation projects that total more than $200 million. Work on the second phases at both schools has already begun.  At Platt, students and teachers moved into a new wing that was not yet complete, with the media center and band and choral rooms still under construction. Those rooms have since been completed, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the school on Dec. 4, Lineen said. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
New London — The city's magnet school construction project will not be among the school building projects recommended to the General Assembly for funding when its next session begins, the state reiterated Tuesday. But the Department of Administrative Services has committed to work with state Rep. Ernest Hewett and the city to secure the projects's authorization through the legislature. "That project will not be on the priority list we send to the General Assembly," Jeffrey Beckham, a spokesman for DAS, said. "Under the law we have to follow in coming up with our list, we cannot include this project." In December, DAS will submit to the General Assembly a list of school construction projects recommended for inclusion in the legislature's annual funding bill. To be included on that list, Beckham said, a municipality must have approved the project by June 30. Even though the City Council approved the project and the associated $168 million bonding ordinance before that date, it was petitioned to referendum and the state considered local approval to be incomplete until the referendum question passed on Nov. 4. The General Assembly can add a project not recommended by DAS to its annual school construction legislation, but no money can be expended on a project until it is included in such a bill. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

 New Hartford referendum Thursday for projects totaling $5M

NEW HARTFORD >> Resident will be able to vote Thursday on what is, money-wise, likely the largest referendum in two decades. Two maintenance projects totaling $5 million can be voted on: one a cost-efficient bridge repair and the other a much needed roof renovation for the town’s largest elementary school. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. First District voters can cast their ballots at Town Hall, located at 530 Main St. Second District voters can do so at South End Firehouse, located at 20 Antolini Road.  The projects do not have to be voted on as one package. Residents can vote “yes” to one item and “no” to the other, if they so choose.
Both projects were unanimously approved by the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance. The larger project would see New Hartford finance significant construction upgrades to Ann Antolini School, the third through sixth grade institute located at the intersection of Routes 202 and 219. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

November 18, 2014

CT Construction Digest November 18, 2014

New London still hopes for state funds for magnet school

New London — The city is working with the state Department of Administrative Services to determine whether the magnet school construction plan overwhelmingly approved by voters at referendum earlier this month could be among the school building projects recommended for funding to the General Assembly when its next session begins, Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio told the City Council on Monday night. On Friday, a spokesman for DAS told The Day that the project will not be recommended to the General Assembly because it was not approved at referendum until after the June 30 deadline. "We have been in communication today with the staff at DAS and we have been informed that no final determination has been made about the inclusion or exclusion of our school construction project in regards to their recommended priority list to the legislature," Finizio said Monday afternoon. "Our staff and DAS staff will be working on this and will continue to work on this over the next several days to try to reach a resolution on this question." Only projects that had been approved at the local level by June 30 will be considered for the 2014-15 school building project priority list, which the state Department of Administrative Services presents to the state legislature by Dec. 15, the spokesman said. Even though the City Council approved the project and the associated $168 million bonding ordinance before that date, the state did not consider local approval to be completed until the bonding referendum question passed on Nov. 4. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Expanded rail line aims to spur transit oriented development

Q&A talks about the recent expansion of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line with Kevin Nursick, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
Q: There's obviously an immediate economic impact from the state spending $58.8 million to build three new rail stations between Hartford and Springfield. But has the state researched or projected a number for the long-term impact from enhanced rail service? What will it mean for Meriden, Berlin and Wallingford to have new stations?
A: Increased and convenient service is an incentive for people to live, and for businesses to locate near the stations. This would allow a person living near the station in Meriden, for instance, to take advantage of jobs in New Haven, Hartford, or Stamford without being dependent on a car. Meriden already has a developer who is getting ready to construct higher density housing near the station. With more people living near the station who are less dependent on driving, retail, restaurants, markets and commercial development will follow allowing communities to construct livable and walkable downtown areas that can grow without the normally associated traffic problems.
Q: The rail line is supposed to be a catalyst for transit-oriented development, including creating new opportunities for businesses to access expanded markets. How does increased rail service accomplish this?
A: On the business side, a business owner can locate in Hartford and conveniently travel to New Haven, Stamford, New York, and in the future Boston without remaining overnight. The service has the potential to tie the Boston, Hartford, New Haven, New York corridor together so it acts like a single metropolitan area.  CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Oxford hub may include grocery, new library

OXFORD — The town is inching closer to having its own grocery and a new library at its future central hub. According to Kathy Ekstrom, development manager at Seymour-based Haynes Development, the company has reached the final step of the Office of the State Traffic Administration process, which will provide the necessary approvals for a traffic light at the entrance of the Oxford Town Center project.
Ekstrom said once Haynes receives OSTA approval, Price Chopper can move forward in obtaining building permits, which will allow construction to begin in late winter or early spring, with plans of opening in October 2015. "A lot of time and energy is going into this project and the interest is mounting daily," Ekstrom said. The anchor tenant of the plaza will be Market32 by Price Chopper, which recently announced it would invest $300 million over the next five years to renovate and rebrand stores under the new name. The entire project is comprised of three components: retail, a green and marketplace, and residential space. Plans are also in the works to create space for the Oxford Public Library, which has been at a temporary location in town hall's basement since 1978.
Haynes recently presented conceptual designs to the Oxford Library Building Committee at its Nov. 5 meeting. These plans allow for an approximately 10,000-square-foot space adjacent to a proposed medical office building and overlooking the marketplace green, a long-anticipated upgrade from its current 3,075-square-foot location. Director and reference librarian Dawn Higginson said the library needs more room to accommodate its 33,000 volumes; the current space can only hold 20,000. The library also boasts nearly 6,000 cardholders — more than half of Oxford 's population. "As the town's growing, I think the library needs to grow with it," she said. "It's like 'The Little Engine That Could.' We'll get there eventually. I'm hopeful that either with this Oxford Town Center project or a future project, if that doesn't work out for whatever reason, we will still move forward and build a bigger space to house the needs of Oxford ." The proposed construction timeline would anticipate a spring 2016 occupancy for the library, according to meeting minutes. Haynes has long been a supporter of the library," Ekstrom said. "With support of the library building committee and town administration, we are hopeful to enter into an agreement that will work for everybody and together we can finally make the new library a reality for the residents of Oxford."

November 17, 2014

CT Construction Digest November 17, 2014

Construction Video of Route 9 White Oak Corporation

Paving delays frustrates residents of Tankwood Road in Wallingford

WALLINGFORD — Finishing the reconstruction of Tankwood Road in Wallingford will have to wait until spring due to frost and the seasonal closing of an asphalt supplier — much to the dismay of residents unhappy with the road’s condition. The road is littered with potholes, ridges and rough patches. The sides of the street are lined with loose processed stone, which some residents worry will end up on lawns and driveways. Public Works Director Henry McCully said the project consisted of stripping the road, replacing drainage systems and repaving. The road has already been stripped and the drains replaced, but repaving will be delayed. McCully said the project took longer than expected because of unanticipated work discovered only when crews began digging. “We had some unexpected repairs to do,” McCully said. “The sort of thing you run into once you start the project.”
Tankwood Road is located north of Route 68, off North Farms Road. Ken Cooley’s house is directly in front of a rough ridge in the street. He says he often hears drivers bottom out when they hit the ridge. “I wish they would finish it,” Cooley said. “It would make it a lot easier driving down this road.” Cooley said he is worried plows could strike the raised edges of recently installed storm drains. “They should have put in curbing,” he said. “It’s going to be an interesting winter.”
Down the street Gaetano Russo said he was in disbelief when he received a letter from the town informing him paving would be delayed.  “I am incredibly unhappy that they’re not going to finish this road,” Russo said. “This is ridiculous.” He said a town worker told him the road had been on the repair list for over 15 years. Roadwork has been going on in front of his house since the summer.
“Now we’re expected to wait another six months? The conditions are going to be so much worse,” Russo said. Russo says he takes pride in his lawn and worries the processed stone lining the road will be pushed onto his driveway and lawn once it snows and plows roll through. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
MERIDEN — The new wing at Maloney High School is expected to be open by early next week, according to school officials.  Project manager Marcus Brennan, of the Glastonbury-based Gilbane Building Co., told members of the School Building Committee this week that the targeted move-in date for the three-story wing is Nov. 18.  Brennan cautioned the plan is contingent upon the wing passing numerous inspections and various systems being put on-line. The crescent-shaped wing on the north side of the high school contains 93,000 square feet of classroom space. The wing is connected to the original school by temporary walkways which won’t be finalized until close to the end of the four-year project. Brennan said some of the inspections had already taken place, including testing of the emergency lighting and fire alarms. Both went off “without any major issues,” he said.
The classrooms in the new wing are also largely complete, with only final waxing and cleaning to do before they’re move-in ready, Brennan said.  The major sticking point, however, is getting intercom, internet, and phone systems up and running throughout the building, said Glen Lamontagne, a consultant for the committee. “Just like at Platt (High School), we’re going to push, and I think by the end of the month, it’s possible,” he said. Work on the second phase of the $107.5 million renovation project at the high school is contingent upon students and faculty moving out of a portion of the existing building, and into the new wing.  The next phase of the project, set to start in December, will involve the renovation of another three-story section of the school. It includes demolishing existing science classrooms and the school’s courtyard to make room for a freshman academy and a renovated pool and locker area. A two-story bridge will connect the freshman academy to the new wing of the school, and the rough entryways for that bridge can already be seen in the new building.
While the pool is under construction, both Maloney and Platt students will use the newly renovated pool at Platt. Community swim hours, typically held at Maloney, will open in the near future at Platt. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
A Massachusetts company will demolish Bradley International Airport's Terminal B, which closed in 2010, the Connecticut Airport Authority announced. S&R Corp. of Lowell, Mass., will also demolish a viaduct roadway that runs in front of the terminal, which is slated to be replaced in 2018. The work will mean that all lanes of traffic on Bradley's upper roadway will be diverted to the lower roadway just after the Sheraton, CAA said. The right line of the lower-level arrivals roadway will also be closed. A new terminal will mean more opportunities for overseas flights, which Bradley has not had since 2009. The CAA is trying to attract Aer Lingus to offer service from Bradley to Ireland. The agency held an invitation-only event this week in Hartford with an Aer Lingus official for local businesspeople to show their support for the service.

New Haven residents find plans for Rt. 34 development wanting

NEW HAVEN >> New Haven is full of involved citizens. Count among them Elaine Quinn, 80, of the Dwight Central Management Team. She and her friends, Olivia Martson, Lena Largie, Donna Greene and Helen Martin-Dawson, all long time residents, have an intense interest in knitting back the Dwight and Hill neighborhoods, split apart a half century ago by a proposed highway to West Haven that never materialized. They have all read the city reports that have been developed over the years on the need for interconnectivity, the right scale, the use of pedestrian paths and bikeways with a mix of retail and residential uses as part of developments.  Since January of this year, there is also a separate set of design guidelines for developers. It’s no secret that Quinn and her friends found the approved development of the Route 34 block bound by Dwight and Orchard streets wanting, given the lack of any residential use, the presence of a 763-car garage and the lack of connecting streets through the 5.39-acre site. No one takes issue with the main function of the development — construction of an adminisrative building for the highly respected Continuum of Care headquarters, but this element constitutes only 9 percent of the site that has remained fallow for decades serving most recently as a large surface parking lot for workers at the nearby Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Yale University Medical School. The other elements that have gotten site plan approval already include a Rite Aid pharmacy, a potential medical office building or hotel and a restaurant. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

November 14, 2014

CT Construction Digest November 14, 2014

Proposed Montville water line touted as economic boost for town

Montville - A presentation on a proposed new pipeline that would bring water to Montville High School spurred questions among residents who attended the event at Oakdale Fire Department Thursday. Town officials have partnered with Middletown-based GHD Consulting to explore putting in a roughly 2,400-foot pipeline starting on Route 163 near Town Hall. The pipeline is intended to spur economic development by increasing access to water in town, increase public safety by introducing more pressurized water to feed fire hydrants and allow the high school to cease using bottled water. The high school has used bottled water for more than two years due to abnormally high levels of manganese in its current well water. "Water lines bring economic development, they bring tax dollars and they bring jobs," said GHD project director Sarah Cwikla. She said that new pipelines built in 2005 and 2007 resulted in economic expansion. The gathering was the second in a series of four planned by the town. The next presentation is set for 10 a.m. on Dec. 5 at the Senior Center and the final presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Jan. 8 at the Public Safety Building. Audience members were curious about how the town would pay for the new pipeline, which will cost $6.8 million to build. Some wanted to know if they would be required to hook up to the new pipeline if it came through their neighborhood. Water Pollution Control Authority Administrator Brian Lynch said hooking up to the line would be optional, and connection fees would go toward paying down bond debt for building the pipeline to mitigate tax rate increases. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

 Power plant plan at step 1

 NEW BRITAIN — The Connecticut Siting Council on Thursday agreed to consider an application for a larger power plant that would be built off Woodruff Hill Road in Oxford. The decision means there will now be public hearings in Oxford, a site visit by regulators and consideration of studies from various agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration and state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The decision, made at a meeting in New Britain attended by approximately 100 people, is the first step in deciding whether to allow the upgrading of the proposed CPV Towantic Energy Center to an 805-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant, to be constructed by June 1, 2019. The project had been approved based on permits from 1999 allowing for a 512-megawatt plant on 26 acres in an industrial zone a half-mile due east of Waterbury-Oxford Airport.
Massachusetts-based Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) wants to build the larger facility at the same location. "We as a company are pleased to have this opportunity to basically take an approved project and improve it," said Andrew Bazinet, CPV spokesman. "When you step through the things we're proposing to do and the reasons for them, there's a solid, fundamental logic that speaks to how that's improving what's already there." Melanie A. Bachman, acting executive director of the Siting Council, said the agency was not expecting such a large crowd for a regular meeting, particularly because there was no time allotted for public comment. "I don't think it impacted the decision to reopen the docket, and I don't think it will at all until we hear the concerns of the residents during the public hearing process," Bachman said. "The council has been aware of the opposition and has been aware of it for the last 15 years, and they came out today." Bachman said the earliest the hearing can be scheduled is Jan. 12, 2015. As many as 100 people from Oxford, Middlebury and Naugatuck turned out for the meeting at the council's New Britain headquarters. Most people were not permitted inside the hearing room during the meeting because it had reached its maximum capacity of 45 people. They rallied outside the building after the decision was announced, stickers with a "no" symbol through the letters "CPV" emblazoned on their coats. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

CL&P job to shut I-84

WATERBURY — While most people are asleep Saturday morning, Interstate 84 will close in both directions and crews will install new overhead wires in preparation for the upcoming highway widening project.
Sometime between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., I-84 will shut down for an hour and traffic will be diverted off the highway at Exit 23, in both directions, where it will follow detours past the construction zone.
Westbound traffic will follow Hamilton Avenue to Union Street and be directed back onto I-84 at the on-ramp across from the Brass Mill Center mall. Eastbound traffic will follow the parallel frontage road off Exit 23 to the Hamilton Avenue intersection, where there is an I-84 on-ramp. During the hour-long closure, Connecticut Light & Power Co. will install new wires over the highway near Exit 23. They will transfer power to the overhead wires from an underground circuit below the Hamilton Avenue overpass. The underground wires need to be de-energized before I-84 construction begins in the spring. As part of the project, the Hamilton Avenue bridge will be rebuilt. The new overhead wires are expected to take less than an hour to install. Poles on both sides of the highway are already in place. "We will run the wire across Interstate 84 Saturday morning, connect it at both ends and suspend it," said Frank Poirot, a spokesman for CL&P. CL&P will reinstall the underground wires when the four-year highway widening project is complete. The electric company prefers to run wires under the highway because they're easier to service. "When we have to do any work on that circuit, it can be done without impacting traffic," Poirot said. The state Department of Transportation will pay for the cost of relocating the wires. A cost estimate wasn't available Thursday. There will be no disruption to customers' electricity while the project is underway, Poirot said. Preliminary work for the DOT's widening project has already begun. The project involves widening the highway to three lanes in both directions between Exit 23 and Exit 25A. Also, the highway will be realigned to eliminate an S-curve, which will be accomplished by moving Reidville Drive about 2,000 feet south of its current location. In the westbound direction, the Plank Road on-ramp will be eliminated and the Exit 24 off-ramp will be eliminated to remove a weave section, where traffic entering the highway merges with traffic that is exiting. Plank Road will be renamed Plank Road East and will be extended so that it runs parallel to I-84 from Scott Road to Harpers Ferry Road.

November 13, 2014

CT Construction Digest November13, 2014

Bridgeport Hospital campus in Trumbull taking shape

Spanning the Bridgeport border, near the Fairfield and Easton town lines, the Bridgeport Hospital satellite campus under construction in Trumbull is all about easy access. "Part of our strategy is to recognize that health care is moving to more of an outpatient-oriented service," said Norman Roth, chief operating officer for Bridgeport Hospital. "That means being out closer to our patients at convenient locations." The $90 million project at 5520 Park Ave. will eventually total 210,000 square feet of medical office space. The facility is meant to work in support of the main Bridgeport campus, where most inpatient care would continue to take place. "It's our biggest venture in our history," Roth said. Brad Bevers, executive director for facilities, design and construction for Yale-New Haven Health System, with which Bridgeport Hospital is affiliated, said the location was key. "It's a prime spot," he said. "It's easy to get to, and actually gets us out closer to a lot of our patients." The construction will connect two existing buildings. On the first floor will be a radiation oncology center affiliated with the Smilow Cancer Center in New Haven. The next floor, which will be ground level from the front of the building, will have a walk-in clinic, radiology, a breast-health center and space for plastic surgeons. The third floor will have operating rooms and a gastroenterology-endoscopy suite, with office space throughout the facility, officials said. The 475-car garage, over the town line in Bridgeport, opened in September.  Bevers said patient disruption has been minimal. Some roadwork required as part of project, including installation of new traffic signals and a roundabout at exit 47 off the Merritt Parkway, has been completed, with only some landscaping to be finished.
Foundation work for the new building has started, and the steel frame should start to rise after the first of the year, topping out in the spring, Bevers said. Construction on the rest of the building should take about a year. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Clearing for Costco

NEW BRITAIN — Workers on the new Costco development have started clearing trees at Stanley Municipal Golf Course, leveling things out. Construction had been scheduled to start next spring. But, Joe Montesano, project coordinator for Costco, called Mayor Erin Stewart last Friday.
He told her the weather looked fair and his workers were ready to begin the final phase of a four-year effort to bring the warehouse store to a site south of Westfarms mall. Costco is expected to open for business in the fall of 2015. Montesano said Costco would start clearing and grating the land near the Red 13 hole near the maintenance shed, not only due to the fair weather, but also because city resident Elaine Lechowicz had decided not to file a third appeal. A lawsuit had been filed by Lechowicz to block construction of the store. Lobo & Associates of Manchester had filed a motion for reconsideration, asking Supreme Court Judge Cynthia Swienton to reconsider her ruling on the Costco case. The judge had dismissed the lawsuit against Costco on the grounds of “lack of standing.” The issue was whether Lechowicz was legally the proper person to challenge the transfer of property. “Costco was waiting to start work because they wanted to respect the court,” said Stewart. “They wanted to make sure Ms. Lechowicz wouldn’t file an additional appeal. So, that’s why we had to wait those two, 20-day windows. When she didn’t file a third appeal, Costco gave the project the thumbs-up.” CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Gracey Ave. truck terminal waits traffic study

MERIDEN — Plans to move a waste treatment transportation operation to Gracey Avenue stalled Wednesday as the Planning Commission awaits results of a formal traffic study. A plan by Tradebe Environmental Services LLC to move a truck transfer facility to 45 Gracey Ave. won’t be acted on by the commission of the Zoning Board of Appeals until the study is completed. Both bodies tabled the issue at their respective meetings this month.   The proposal, said attorney Dennis Ceneviva, who represents the company, is to expand and move a tractor-trailer truck terminal from its current location on Duffy Street to a largely vacant parking lot on Gracey Avenue. The covered truck terminal would include parking for 12 tractor-trailer trucks — six spaces on each side of a loading ramp accessible by a forklift.  The company’s environmental manager, Rick Baker, explained Wednesday that the facility sends trucks out to businesses that generate waste. Some of that waste — most commonly packaged in 55-gallon steel drums — is treated at the plant on Duffy Street. Some of the materials however, need to be shipped elsewhere in the country for treatment. The truck bay would be a staging area, where barrels of hazardous waste are removed from incoming trucks, sorted, and loaded back onto outgoing trucks.  “Nothing is processed there (at the truck transfer facility). No containers are opened, they’re just going from one truck to another for storage and eventual removal,” Ceneviva said.  Still, spillage systems have been planned to surround the site, including using impervious concrete, underground drainage systems and containment tanks.   CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
MERIDEN — Once home to Connecticut Telephone and Electric, a thriving telecommunications and auto parts manufacturer, the 90,000-square-foot factory at 70 Britannia St. now sits vacant. But state transportation officials see promise in the four-story brick factory building. The property was one of four statewide recently identified by the Department of Transportation as being vacant and having the potential for redevelopment. Other former industrial properties identified by the state are in West Hartford, Hartford and Windsor Locks. Each property is adjacent to the Amtrak railroad right-of-way and may be eligible for federal or state tax credit programs, according to the DOT.  “If you’re a developer, you might say ‘let’s tear this thing down,’” said John Bernick, assistant rail administrator for the DOT. “But it might make better economic sense to keep the structure and rehabilitate it.”
Bernick said the rail corridor between New Haven and Springfield has been deemed historic due to the construction of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail. In August 2012, an agreement between the DOT, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office was established to mitigate the impact of construction on historic structures. These structures include buildings and bridges, Bernick said. The agreement sets forth guidelines for construction and final design plans to preserve the historic nature of such structures, he said. It stipulates that the DOT “identify at least one and no more than five vacant historic industrial properties” that may be eligible for federal or state historic tax credits. “Many people don’t know that these incentives exist,” Bernick said.   CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
Norwich - The Board of Education is considering hiring the regional education agency LEARN and one of the state's larger construction firms to create a master plan of all school buildings and programs, with the potential of taking a new construction or renovation proposal to the city's voters as early as next November's election. Officials from LEARN and O&G Industries presented two options for the master plan: one for $80,000 that would use a 2011 study of school buildings and their conditions as the basis for the new plan, and a second $100,233 option that would essentially start from scratch. That would include a new detailed analysis of the condition of all the school buildings.
LEARN Executive Director Eileen Howley and O&G Assistant Vice President Ken Biega said both proposals would include community outreach, meetings with the Board of Education and cost estimates for the final school construction or renovation plan that would be proposed for referendum.
Either option would result in "recommendations toward structure of schools, grade level arrangements, locations of schools" and would have cost estimates for the renovation plan chosen by school officials. In the $80,000 option, there would be six meetings with the school board, two community meetings and three meetings with school administrators to gather input for the plan. The consultants would update the 2011 assessment of the school buildings with revised cost estimates.
The $100,233 plan would involve nine meetings with the Board of Education, three community meetings and six meetings with administrators. In this plan, the consultants would visit every building and conduct new condition assessments. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Congress likely to vote on Keystone XL Pipeline

Washington - For the first time in the six-year fight over the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, both houses of Congress will hold a vote on the proposed project, which has become a sudden flashpoint in a runoff election for a Senate seat in Louisiana. The two lawmakers locked in a tight Senate runoff election, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., seized control of the congressional agenda Wednesday, extracting assurances from House and Senate leaders that votes will be held to bypass President Barack Obama's authority and authorize construction of the pipeline.
A large showing of Democratic support for the pipeline could complicate the administration's decision-making process, given the party's dismal showing at the polls on Election Day. Environmentalist allies of the president are solidly against the project, and have been doggedly lobbying the administration against approving it. But Republicans successfully used the president's environmental and climate agenda as key lines of attack against Democrats in several contested midterm races. Acknowledging the importance of energy to the Louisiana economy, both Landrieu Cassidy have championed construction of the pipeline, which would transport oil from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The GOP-controlled House has repeatedly voted its support for the pipeline, while the Senate, in deference to the administration, has resisted holding a vote on the matter. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Zone change paves way for Backus expansion in Plainfield

PLAINFIELD — A zone change approved tonight paves the way for the William W. Backus Hospital to expand its medical foot-print in Plainfield. The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved re-zoning 3.68 acres on Gallup Street — adjacent to the Plainfield Backus Emergency Care Center at 582 Norwich Road — from commercial to residential, a required step before any future medical facilities can be built on the site. In Plainfield, hospitals and hospital facilities must be located in residentially zoned areas. Branford-based ORL Plainfield LLC, which owns the land and emergency clinic, leases the clinic building to Backus. The property up for discussion Wednesday is part of an 18-acre parcel owned by Disch Family Limited, with Peter and Kathy Disch listed as owners by town assessor records. Engineer Joseph Wren, representing ORL, said Backus officials are negotiating with the Disch family to purchase the re-zoned parcel land, along with other pieces of property in the area, potentially expanding Backus' reach to the Interstate 395 corridor area. "The application submitted by Backus is to expand operations," Wren said. "(The clinic) is bursting at the seams, with the patient circulation higher than thought. That's why the purchase is being discussed, to build another facility to enhance patient care." CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Demolition and one more dirty job at Manchester sewer plant

MANCHESTER — Two 500,000-gallon tanks at the sewer plant have been cleared of everything that can be pumped, but a dirty job remains. Installed in 1954, the "biosolids disposal tanks" employed microorganisms that broke down and reduced waste. Of course, people flushed a lot of other stuff that did not readily dissolve. That material, mostly rags and plastic items, is piled about ten feet deep at the bottom of one tank, town officials said Wednesday.  Replaced by modern equipment, the tanks are to be demolished as part of a $43 million plant upgrade. Town administrators are working to complete an agreement with a contractor to tear down the tanks and buildings that were part of the old wastewater treatment plant, General Manager Scott Shanley said. Removing the accumulated, waste-encrusted material will be part of that job, he said. A contractor started pumping waste from the tanks in August. After being dried in a portable centrifuge, the material was dumped in the local landfill. A feared stench from the operation, thankfully, did not materialize, at least not on a wide scale, Shanley said.  "Thus far, the process worked quite well," he said. "We got rid of everything that's pumpable without any serious odor upset." The final cleanout, however, still has the potential to raise a stink, Shanley said. Asked about the content of the material to be removed, water and sewer Administrator Patrick Kearney said, "Think of all the stuff you flush down the toilet." The contractor likely will use an excavator to remove the material, Kearney said. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Sewer renovation project in Southington to begin next year

SOUTHINGTON — Shop drawings and other preparation for a $5.2 million renovation of the town's aging water treatment plant are underway, with construction likely to begin early next year, the sewer committee was told Wednesday. "We are planning. Don't expect to see a shovel out there until late February, early March," James Grappone, the town's assistant engineer and a committee member, said. "The project will take about a year to complete."  The improvements are mostly on the equipment that processes sewage sludge, the solid waste left over after the average daily flow of 4.5 million gallons of wastewater is processed at the facility. The equipment being upgraded is the gas digester, which uses bacteria to decompose sludge. The 30-year-old device, shut down last year for cleaning, was found to need extensive repairs. Last week, voters approved a $5.2 million bond authorization to finance an overhaul of the system. It should resolve the sporadic noxious odors that have plagued neighborhoods near the plant for the past two years.  The new system will improve drying and decomposition of the sludge, decreasing the odor. John De Gioia, the plant superintendent, has said the odor issue was worsened this past year by after-effects of a chemical mixed into partially treated wastewater to remove phosphorus. The chemical, polyaluminum chloride, interfered with the further decomposition of the sludge, causing the stink.