February 29, 2016

CT Construction Digest February 29, 2016

Ganim announces five-year, $178M wish list

BRIDGEPORT — Mayor Joe Ganim has sent proposals for five years’ — and $178 million — worth of bonding to the City Council.
Av Harris, a spokesman for Ganim, issued a statement shortly after 6:30 p.m. Friday, announcing that Ganim had finalized bonding proposals for the next five fiscal years.
“The capital plan includes more than $50 million in school construction and improvements including more than $26 million for the construction of the new Bassick High School in fiscal year 2018,” Harris wrote. “Also among Mayor Ganim’s priorities are more than $15 million in economic development initiatives such as the gateway to the South End development involving the University of Bridgeport. There is also $1 million to help repair the P.T. Barnum Museum, still severely damaged from a 2010 tornado.”
Ganim wrote in a prepared statement that sidewalks, bridges and roads also needed overhauling and said that Bridgeport was “using this opportunity to be visionary” about 10 or 20 years’ worth of planning, with an eye toward the waterfront and the South End.
According to city records, the capital projection adopted last budget cycle, which would run five years into the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year, was $97.7 million — a full $80 million less than Ganim’s five-year projection.
Harris emphasized that Ganim’s submission comprised proposals and that the City Council would make determinations, item by item and year by year.
“Not all of it’s getting bonded,” Harris told the Post. “This is just an expression of the mayor’s priorities.”
One of those priorities is a study on consolidating emergency headquarters, possibly bringing police, fire and emergency communications under one roof. The presumptive price tag is $25,000, small in comparison to many of the multimillion-dollar proposals. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

New railroad station taking shape in Meriden

MERIDEN — With structural steel beginning to go up, work on a new train station on State Street is finally out of the ground and in full view.
The local station, as well as stations in Wallingford and Berlin, comprise just one section of work being done across Southern New England to upgrade 62 miles of track between New Haven and Springfield, known as the Hartford Line.
The ultimate goal of this $650 million project — for which the state of Connecticut, Amtrak and Federal Rail Administration have partnered — is to offer more frequent train stops and entice commuters to use rail travel more consistently.
The Meriden station in particular has been championed as the anchor to this new work, with updates to include elevated platforms on both sides of the track, an overhead pedestrian bridge, and ticket vending machines all under the umbrella of a new station. Work began on the site more than a year ago with the demolition of the former Stone Insurance Building, 88 State St., and the skeleton of this new station is starting to be visible.
Bruce Olmstead, project manager for the state Department of Transportation, said that crews have been working through the first phase of work.
“Work that gets the project out of the ground, including sheeting installation, footings, stem walls, and stair tower steel has been completed.”
He added, “Much of the work is on the west side of the tracks but some work is on the east side.”
Shortly, work will focus on demolishing the existing train platforms. In order to accommodate that in a functioning station, temporary platforms will be built next month farther south along State Street.
Earlier this month, the City Council voted unanimously to abandon a portion of Brooks Street, between State Street and the Amtrak right-of-way, about halfway up the street and just past the railroad tracks.  CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
Mystic’s Golden Triangle seeing development surge

Mystic — The Golden Triangle, ground zero for the region’s tourist economy, is undergoing a renaissance not seen since its inception more than 40 years ago.
More than a dozen projects, worth in excess of $150 million, are in the concept stage, under construction or recently completed near Interstate 95's Exit 90, in an area roughly bounded by Route 27, Coogan Boulevard and Jerry Brown Road.
“We’ve been mired in the downturn for so long, it's like spring has come,” said Stephen Coan, president and CEO of Sea Research Foundation, the parent organization of Mystic Aquarium. “The demographics and market studies have always shown this is a very promising area with multiple uses. The development happening now has been pent up for some time.”
At the top of the project list is a proposal for a $60 million health, research and academic campus with residences on 70 acres of the Perkins Farm, running along the east side of Jerry Brown Road from Coogan Boulevard to Pequotsepos Road.
That project, which will need sewer and zoning approvals, is projected to become the Town of Stonington’s largest taxpayer, generating $1.1 million in annual revenue. While Mystic includes portions of both Groton and Stonington, all the projects are in Stonington.
A short distance away at the end of Clara Drive, the roadway that leads to McQuade's Marketplace, construction continues on the $30 million, 179-unit Masonicare assisted living facility, slated to open later this year. The nonprofit will pay $140,000 a year to the town in lieu of taxes.
Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport and the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center also have major projects underway. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE



February 26, 2016

CT Construction Digest February 26, 2016

Strong Industry support is needed at a press conference with Governor Malloy on the transportation funding lock box today @11:00am at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. 
We need to demonstrate that Governor Malloy’s $100 billion transportation proposal is a priority and it has strong support.  Plus, the stronger the showing we make on the lockbox, the less likely the legislators are to divert or cut transportation funding when dealing with the budget deficits. 
I hope that you and others from your organization can join us to make a strong showing this morning. 

Noisy but necessary sewer construction to begin soon

The town is in the process of introducing more than 400 households to a $10 million project that is expected to cause noise and traffic disturbances in their neighborhoods beginning this summer.
The next phase of the Metropolitan District Commission’s mandated Clean Water Project will make necessary upgrades to the sewer system and water mains around the intersection of Cedar Street and Willard Avenue.
MDC representatives updated the Town Council on the latest project developments at its meeting Tuesday night, alongside Town Engineer Chris Greenlaw and Police Chief Stephen Clark.
While it will pose a disruption, officials said, the project will prove to be worth it to neighboring homeowners.
"They know that for a limited amount of time they’re going to be inconvenienced by the project, but when it’s over they know that they’re going to have a sewer system that works properly," Assistant District Counsel for the MDC Chris Stone said.
Residents who attended a public information session on the project in early February were receptive to this fact since many currently face basement back-ups that would be fixed, he pointed out.
"They understand the burden but they truly appreciate the benefit," Stone added.
While the brunt of construction would occur during the daytime, night work is planned during August through September. Work is expected to begin in June and continue through December before shutting down for the winter and resuming again in April 2017. The estimated completion date is December 2017.
A more detailed work schedule will be presented to residents as soon as MDC hires a contractor. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Hinchey: Route 82 overhaul plan is needed
NORWICH — Mayor Deb Hinchey plans to ask the Republican-led City Council to support a proposed $42 million overhaul of Route 82 that would include the installation of six roundabouts.“I think it’s an important project. I’m very much for it. If you look at the statistics and crashes over there, it’s a problem. And I think it will help beautify the area. It’s not the most attractive as a gateway,” Hinchey told The Bulletin’s editorial board Thursday.Hinchey expects to introduce the resolution in March.Along with possible traffic adjustments, Hinchey, a Democrat, said the region’s public transportation system could end a practice of allowing users to flag down buses anywhere along a route.That’s in line with the finding of an October Southeast Area Transit Authority study that recommended an end to flag stops.“Many riders find the flag stop system confusing, and SEAT drivers have indicated that flag stops slow service and affect on-time performance,” the study says. “Discontinuing the flag stop system should improve the efficiency of service.”Taken together, Hinchey said, the changes would make travel much more efficient and safer – but public opinion is mixed.“It doesn’t feel safe here. I’m not an architect, but they need to do something. It’s just kind of scary sometimes because the traffic is so close,” Norwich resident Jerome Richardson said at a SEAT bus stop in front of Shop Rite on Thursday. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
NEWINGTON — Acting Town Manager Tanya Lane said Thursday that the town could afford to borrow up to $82 million to fund much-needed building projects.
An outside firm arrived at that figure — equivalent to 72 percent of this year's $113.5 million town budget — after Lane asked it to assess the town's debt capacity, she said. Lane made her remarks at the chamber of commerce's annual State of the Town event.
"This is just an example to show that Newington can afford, if [voters] choose, to take on building projects for town hall, the library, Anna Reynolds School and Churchill Park," Lane said.
Mayor Roy Zartarian said that he would review Lane's suggestion.
"Definitely, it's worth exploring," Zartarian said. "It'll get us off the dead center we've been on with a couple of projects."
Lane's proposal comes as the town faces an estimated bill of more than $60 million for four major building projects:
•A new or renovated town and community center, at least $30 million.
•Churchill Park renovations, $19 million.
•Renovations and upgrades to Lucy Robbins Welles Library, at least $10 million.
•Renovations to Anna Reynolds School, which officials have yet to put a price tag on. . CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Engineers Envision Capping I-84 As Alternative To Tunnel Through Hartford

HARTFORD — Prospects for replacing the aging I-84 viaduct with a tunnel or a modern elevated highway are fading, but engineers have a new idea: Building a highway slightly below grade level and then covering it.
The new structure could cost up to $6.3 billion, but would provide most of the benefits of a tunnel at roughly half the price, they said.
Either way, the state Department of Transportation expects by mid-May to choose a plan for replacing the half-century-old viaduct that cuts through Hartford.
The state hasn't determined how it would pay for the project, but transportation department engineers warn that the viaduct running from Flatbush Avenue almost to Exit 51 is deteriorating and getting costlier to maintain every year.
No matter which design the DOT uses, replacing the busiest stretch of highway in the state is expected to take years and create traffic detours and delays. Residents envision it as a way to revitalize whole sections of the city, while truck drivers and many commuters are focused on traveling — into, out of or just through the city — as quickly as possible.

February 25, 2016

CT Construction Digest February 25, 2016

Strong Industry support is needed at a press conference with Governor Malloy on the transportation funding lock box at 11:00am this Friday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. 
We need to demonstrate that Governor Malloy’s $100 billion transportation proposal is a priority and it has strong support.  Plus, the stronger the showing we make on the lockbox, the less likely the legislators are to divert or cut transportation funding when dealing with the budget deficits. 
I hope that you and others from your organization can join us to make a strong showing Friday morning. 
Energy company withdraws request to lease Danbury land

DANBURY — A Texas energy company that wanted to lease city land as a construction staging area for part of its $970 million gas pipeline expansion has abruptly withdrawn the request.
Spectra Energy had proposed paying Danbury $5,000 to lease a small piece of land in a residential neighborhood south of the West Lake Reservoir, which would be used to store heavy equipment and trench soil.
The energy company withdrew its request last week after the city scheduled a public hearing to gather input about the proposal.
A Spectra official on Wednesday would not specify why the company withdrew the request.
“We no longer need the property,” said Marylee Hanley, director of stakeholder outreach for Spectra Energy.
Spectra received federal approval in March to expand its natural gas pipeline from New York to Boston. The project includes the replacement of a 4.5-mile section of pipeline in Danbury with a larger pipe.
The project has already begun in the western part of the city, where workers are drilling beneath Interstate 84 near exit 2. The plan is to begin trench work and pipe replacement in the spring.
“Our project will be placed in service on Nov. 1,” Hanley said. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Southington road to soon be repaved

SOUTHINGTON — Old Mountain Road has been shut down following the cracking of a temporary pavement. A detour will be put in place until it can be re-paved in April. “The extreme high and low temperatures this winter ate through the patch we’d put on it and it is no longer safe to travel,” said Town Manager Garry Brumback on Tuesday. “We had done several patches and the police were monitoring any changes. After this last snow, it just didn’t hold.”
Last August, the town awarded Martin Laviero, contractor of Bristol $694,450, to repair the Old Mountain Road bridge, which Brumback said had been weight-limited more than 20 years ago due to deterioration. Brumback said the road has now deteriorated to the point where it can’t be patched.
“It would require us to spend a considerable sum on a thick temporary overlay and we believe this is not advisable,” he said. “We have contacted the contractor and he has agreed to resume work on the project. The contractor will attempt to re-establish the detour today at which time we can stop around the clock police protection. He will mobilize as soon as he is able and should be actively working by late this week or early next week. The contractor will contact the police department to get officers for traffic control while he resets the detour.” CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Downtown Meriden building project going ‘very well overall’ thanks in part to warm winter

MERIDEN — With apartments and commercial space taking shape, it’s becoming clearer what the mixed-use building at 24 Colony St. will look like when it’s complete. Work on a state Department of Transportation parking garage in the southwest corner of the lot is also expected to start soon, bringing with it temporary traffic pattern changes.
Work on the $24 million project spearheaded jointly by the Meriden Housing Authority and Branford-based Westmount Development Group began in earnest in the middle of last year and has been ramping up in recent months. It includes roughly 8,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, and three floors of apartment units above that — the skeleton of which is not hard to miss when traveling in the area.
James Nolin, project supervisor from the Newington-based Enterprise Builders, said that the generally warm weather this winter has helped work move along.
“It’s going very well overall,” he said of construction. “The warm winter certainly helped. As far as a schedule goes, we write it for perfect weather, so we never really got ahead but we’ve been able to toe the line.”
A lot of the early work was dedicated to getting the site ready to build upon.
“It’s a really tight site,” Nolin said. “There just needed to be a lot of coordination, but that’s to be expected in this sort of urban setting in an older city.”
Excavation also proved challenging. The parcel was formerly home to the Wilcox Building, then a parking lot.
“We always knew there were many, many, many layers of existing structure that had been here over the last 140 years. With that, when we were doing our excavations, we found a lot of old stuff in the ground — old foundations, old footings, old pilings in the ground... a lot of old structure,” Nolin said CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
Two Connecticut tribes weighing several Hartford area venues for a third casino say East Windsor has fallen out of consideration, and that discussions are entering a new phase about remaining sites in Hartford, East Hartford and Windsor Locks.
"We've spent the last several months going through this process, trying to figure out the best way to preserve Connecticut jobs and revenue," Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman Kevin Brown said in a statement Wednesday. "East Windsor's clear desire to host this facility made this decision really difficult. However, the fact that one site was removed by the developer and others were not submitted by the property owner made pursuing a facility there extremely challenging."
Butler and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler said staff from both tribes, who partnering to develop Connecticut's third casino, will meet with officials from each of the towns to discuss in greater detail exactly what a proposal could entail.
The chairs will launch public question-and-answer sessions with the residents and businesses in those communities.
The tribes did not give a timetable for rendering a decision on winning site.

Razing of The Hartford’s ex-Simsbury campus sought

The new owners of The Hartford's sprawling ex-Simsbury insurance campus plan to raze the office-building portion to make way for a new mixed-use development, the town's planner says.
New Jersey landlord The Silverman Group, which acquired the 173-acre campus in late December, has filed an application with the town's conservation commission to level the 625,000-square-foot office building at 200 Hopmeadow St., Jamie Rabbit, Simsbury's director of planning and community development, said Tuesday.
The commission will formally receive the application when it meets on March 1, Rabbit said.
Silverman Group officials did not immediately respond Tuesday to a call for comment.
Working with The Hartford once it decided to sell the property, the town embraced a relatively novel development concept, known as "form-based code,'' for reimagining the property's use and to make it more attractive to a buyer. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Amtrak Boss Pledges Hartford Line Will Be Done On Time

There will be no more cost overruns or construction delays on the Hartford Line commuter rail project, the president of Amtrak said at a Senate hearing.
Amtrak is keeping close watch on the $574-million construction job and is confident it will be ready for trains to start running in January of 2018, Joseph Boardman said at the hearing Tuesday.
Connecticut had initially hoped to start running commuter trains between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield by next winter, but Amtrak — which oversees construction — declared two months ago that it would take 13 months longer and $135 million more.
Under questioning by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Boardman acknowledged that completing projects on time and budget "hasn't always been standard practice" at the railroad. But he said a switch in senior management has changed that. "I believe our new chief engineer is very different in his focus and his effort to get this delivered, so I am confident that we will get it delivered," Boardman said at a subcommittee hearing of the Senate's commerce, science and transportation committee. State Transportation Commissioner James Redeker told The Courant on Wednesday that construction is now running slightly ahead of the revised schedule, and that Amtrak's new project management team is keeping the DOT well informed about progress. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Connecticut DOT to host public info hearing March 2 at Derby-Milford Road intersection

DERBY >> An estimated $3.1 million state project calling for improvements on Route 34 at the Derby-Milford Road intersection will be the subject of a public informational meeting next week.
The state Department of Transportation’s Highway Design office will host the hearing at 7 p.m. March 2 at City Hall, 1 Elizabeth St. According to a press release from the DOT, the meeting will be followed by a question-and-answer period. The snow date for the meeting is March 9.
According to DOT officials, the proposed improvements include widening Derby-Milford Road to accommodate a three-lane approach to Route 34; a two-lane approach from Sentinel Hill Road and creation of an exclusive right-turn lane from Route 34 to Derby-Milford Road. The additional lanes aim to reduce traffic congestion and improve the overall operation and safety of the intersection.
“This project is for the Derby-Milford Road improvements at the bottom of Sentinel Hill,” said Mayor Anita Dugatto.”The hairpin turn will have major improvements for safety and visibility. We are excited the state will improve this road at no cost to the city.” CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

West Haven High School project resurrected, with management changes

WEST HAVEN >> City and school officials working with the state have resurrected the “renovate-as-new” West Haven High School project, after Mayor Ed O’Brien and Superintendent of Schools Neil Cavallaro previously told the state the current project “must be terminated.”
But there will be changes in the way the project is managed, the only one of which officials were willing to talk about will be replacing the current West Haven High School Building Committee with a new one, according to O’Brien. “There will be a new building committee,” O’Brien said late Tuesday afternoon after a meeting with state officials in Hartford. “Building committees, contrary to what we were being told, can be changed at any time.
“The professionals are going to run the project now,” O’Brien said. We’re just trying to put it on track,” he said, calling the result of recent meetings “good for the state, good for the city and ... good for the students of West Haven.” The high school project “is going to be moving forward and it is going to be state-of-the-art, but it’s going to be built a different way,” said Director of Finance Kevin McNabola.
Another big change will be that while the plans previously called for asbestos in remaining sections of the existing school to be encapsulated, it will be completely removed under the revised plans, O’Brien and Cavallaro said. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

CTDOT's $34.8M Bridgeport Route 8/25 Project Reaches Important Milestone
Manafort Brothers Incorporated photo. CTDOT noted that work will continue on the construction of PBUs in the construction area along Route 8 NB at Exit 5 and that in early summer, these PBUs will be transported to the Lindley Street and Capital Avenue sit
The Connecticut Department of Transportation's (CTDOT) $34.8 million project to replace the Route 8/25 bridges in Bridgeport has exceeded the half-way point as crews from Manafort Brothers Incorporated are working hard to meet the September delivery date.
The four bridges being rehabilitated carry an average of 88,000 cars over Capital Avenue, Lindley Street and a large parking lot. The Lindley Street Bridge consists of seven, 82 ft. (25 m) long spans with four 12-ft. (3.6 m) lanes and two shoulders in each direction. The project will reduce the bridge to two spans while keeping the same lane and shoulder capacity.
The Capital Avenue Bridge, consisting of a single span with four 12-ft. lanes and two shoulders in each direction will be replaced with a similar structure. The work also includes the construction of a large retaining wall to support 425 ft. (130 m) of new highway, the rehabilitation of the metal bin-wall retaining wall which is currently supporting Route 8 southbound, south of Capital Avenue and capacity improvements to two intersections on Lindley Street adjacent to Route 8 northbound.
The bridges will be demolished and rebuilt in a different configuration using accelerated bridge construction techniques. The new superstructures will consist of prefabricated bridge units (PBUs), which consists of two steel beams fabricated with an integral concrete deck to form a double tee section. The PBUs will be connected in the field with narrow longitudinal closure pours.
The Lindley Street Bridges will be reduced to two spans each by filling in five of the seven spans on each bridge. The pier to the north of the second span will be converted to an abutment by constructing a retaining wall behind the existing pier. The substructures to the north of the final two span structures will be left in place and buried. The area under the spans to be removed will be filled. The fill will be retained by concrete retaining walls built outboard of the existing bridge limits. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE



February 24, 2016

CT Construction Digest February 24, 2016

Old Mountain Road closed in Southington due to deterioration

SOUTHINGTON — Old Mountain Road has been shut down following the cracking of a temporary pavement. A detour will be put in place until it can be re-paved in April.
“The extreme high and low temperatures this winter ate through the patch we’d put on it and it is no longer safe to travel,” said Town Manager Garry Brumback on Tuesday. “We had done several patches and the police were monitoring any changes. After this last snow, it just didn’t hold.”
Last August, the town awarded Martin Laviero Contractor of Bristol $694,450 to repair the Old Mountain Road bridge, which  Brumback said had been weight-limited more than 20 years ago due to deterioration. Brumback said the road has now deteriorated to the point where it can’t be patched.
“It would require us to spend a considerable sum on a thick temporary overlay and we believe this is not advisable,” he said. “We have contacted the contractor and he has agreed to resume work on the project. The contractor will attempt to re-establish the detour today at which time we can stop around the clock police protection. He will mobilize as soon as he is able and should be actively working by late this week or early next week. The contractor will contact the police department to get officers for traffic control while he resets the detour.” CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
City awarded $3m federal grant toward restoring two-way downtown

MERIDEN — The city reached a “critical step” in transforming the downtown traffic pattern Tuesday, with the award of nearly $3 million to update traffic signals.
Meriden was one of 10 municipalities across the state to receive part of a $20 million Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program grant from the Federal Highway Administration.
 The $2.99 million Meriden received will be used to upgrade 12 traffic signals in the city center.
“This is a critical step in our transportation plan,” said Howard Weissberg, associate city engineer.
The federal grants are designed for transportation projects that will improve the flow of traffic, improve air quality, and reduce energy use.
In a statement from his office, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said, “These grants combine two of the most critical issues of our time: transportation and the environment. Growing and modernizing our transportation system in a way that’s beneficial to air quality is absolutely critical. We must keep working to provide a best-in-class transportation system — the future of our state hinges on it.” CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
Mystic — The Stonington Water Pollution Control Authority indicated its willingness Tuesday night to work with a local developer planning a medical, research and residential campus on the Perkins Farm, to resolve a sewer boundary issue that threatens to derail the plan.
The sewer boundary line bisects the 70-acre parcel located along the east side of Jerry Brown Road between Coogan Boulevard and Pequotsepos Road, leaving about 60 percent not served by sewers.
The entire property needs to be sewered for the project to occur and developer David Lattizori is asking the authority to include the entire farm in the sewer district so he can move forward with planning the project.
Lattizori said the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting was promising.
“I think they’re supportive. We just have to work out the technical issues, which I’m confident we can,” he said.
First Selectman Rob Simmons, who also attended the meeting, told the authority that, “this is the best plan I’ve seen for saving the Perkins Farm. It saves half of it.”
The estimated $60 million project would generate an estimated $1.1 million a year in annual tax revenue for the town. It also would create an estimated 350 well-paying permanent jobs, many of them in the medical and research field, as well as 400 construction jobs. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Gas expansion on tap

Eversource said it's nearing the start of construction that will expand natural gas systems in several areas of the state.
The Connecticut and Massachusetts-based utility said work starting this spring will impact Oxford and Stonington, while it is finalizing a plan to bring natural gas to Darien public buildings and some residences.
Eversource installed approximately 14 miles of new gas mains last year in communities ranging from Danbury to Putnam.

Hartford Vote Allots Extra $5.5M In City Money To Finish Yard Goats' Stadium

HARTFORD — The city council has approved a deal allowing Hartford to kick in $5.5 million for cost overruns at Dunkin' Donuts Park, clearing the way for work to be completed at the site.
Mayor Luke Bronin reached an agreement last month with the Hartford Yard Goats, the minor league team set to play at the ballpark, and developers of the stadium to address $10.4 million in overruns.
Under the agreement, developer DoNo Hartford LLC would give up $2.3 million in fees and make additional annual tax payments of $225,000 on the entire Downtown North development, a mixed-use project that includes the stadium. The higher tax payments would extend over 25 years.
The Yard Goats would contribute $2 million and give up $500,000 that the city would have paid for designated team parking. And the city would initially shoulder $5.5 million from bonds issued by the Hartford Stadium Authority, which is overseeing the project. The additional tax payments from DoNo Hartford would eventually reduce Hartford's share of the costs to about $3.5 million.
The council's six Democrats on Monday voted in favor of the proposal. Members Larry Deutsch and Wildaliz Bermudez, both of the Working Families Party, abstained. Cynthia Jennings, also of Working Families, was absent. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Developer Will Demolish Buildings On The Former Campus Of The Hartford In Simsbury

 SIMSBURY — The new owner of the former campus of The Hartford will demolish the office buildings on the property, town officials confirmed Tuesday.The 172-acre property was sold for $8.52 million in late December, including 641,000 square feet of building space and farmland to the north.
Thomas Cooke, director of administrative services, said Tuesday morning that The Silverman Group, a New Jersey real estate development firm, filed an application for demolition of the 200 Hopmeadow St. site with the conservation commission Monday.
"In many ways, this is not a surprise," Cooke said. "The good news is that The Silverman Group has been meeting with staff and moving forward with plans to get permits for mixed development."
"Every indication is that they want to move forward quickly with the new plan and it's not going to be a long, drawn-out process," Cooke said. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
Work On West Hartford's Mayflower Street Bridge To Start In March

WEST HARTFORD — Work on the Mayflower Street bridge is expected to start on or about the week of March 1.
Construction on the bridge, which carries Mayflower Street over Interstate-84, is expected to be completed by December, according to a press release.
The project was awarded to New England Infrastructure, Inc. at a cost of $6.28 million, and the rehabilitation will be undertaken using state funds.
The rehabilitation project consists of replacing the existing bridge deck, structural steel members and parapets, and construction will occur in two stages. During the first stage, traffic will use the east side of the existing structure while the west side is being constructed. In the second stage, traffic will shift to the newly constructed west side so the remainder of the structure can be built. The one-way travel lane will be controlled by a temporary traffic signal. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE


February 23, 2016

CT Construction Digest February 23, 2016

Monroe to be home to first Wal-Mart Supercenter in county

MONROE — When it was built in 2004, Victoria Drive was a road with a stoplight leading to nowhere.
But now, in addition to Ole Soccer Training Center and Victorinox Swiss Army, the road will soon be home to Fairfield County’s first Wal-Mart Supercenter.
“Some people love it and some people hate it. … But either way, they’re coming,” said First Selectman Steve Vavrek.
It will employ about 300 people, said Phillip Keene, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, adding that it typically takes about a year to get a store up and running.
John Kimball, who owns the local developing firm The Kimball Group, said he expects to begin construction of the 150,000-square-foot facility in June. He’s just waiting for one more state permit to come through.
“It puts Monroe on the map for national retailers. Since Wal-Mart has come in, we’ve had interest from several other national retailers. Wal-Mart is going to be the anchor, the catalyst,” said Kimball.
Constructing Wal-Mart is one part of a larger development plan Kimball has dubbed Shops at Victoria Place.
Next door to the Wal-Mart, at 10-36 Main St., he hopes to build a shopping center that would house 22 stores. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Housing Authority In Norwalk Gets $1.3M From HUD

Four areas in the 4th District received a total of $6,268,644 divided as follows:
  • Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport: $3,876,098
  • New Canaan Housing Authority: $25,523
  • Housing Authority of the City of Norwalk: $1,272,166
  • Housing Authority of the City of Stamford: $1,094,857
The grants are provided through HUD’s Capital Fund Program, which is aimed at supporting renovation and modernization for housing authorities throughout the country. Projects supported by these grants include roof replacement, electrical and plumbing repair or updating electrical systems.
“We have a potential housing crisis on our hands in Southwest Connecticut,” Himes said. “There is not enough affordable housing for low-income individuals, and the housing that we do have is too often dated, inefficient, and in need of repair. The Capital Fund Program is absolutely invaluable in helping us deal with the most pressing of these issues, but only scratches the surface of addressing the underlying needs. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Cromwell takes first step toward riverfront development

CROMWELL >> The town has agreed in principle to buy two parcels of land along the Connecticut River. The proposed purchase is seen as a dramatic “first step” to draw more people to the riverfront and, by extension, to the adjacent historic downtown.
On Wednesday, the Town Council voted 7-0 to authorize Town Manager Anthony J. Salvatore to continue negotiations with the owners, CLM, for the purchase of two parcels at 60 and 61 River Road. Taken together, the parcels, which are commonly known as the Marino property, contain 2.74 acres. “We have an agreement in principle,” Salvatore said Thursday. The council also agreed to spend up to $250,000 to complete the purchase. If the negotiations are successful, Mayor Enzo Faienza said it will be a major step forward in “capitalizing on our riverfront, which is one of the largest” of any community along the river. “Our whole goal is to get people in the community to embrace the riverfront,” Faienza said. The town’s next step is to go to the Board of Finance Thursday to seek board approval for a supplemental appropriation to cover the cost of the purchase price.
Faienza said he has been assured by Director of Finance Marianne Sylvester that “there is [sufficient] money within the budget, in fund balance.” CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Brownfield cleanup grants helping reshape downtown Meriden

MERIDEN — Between cleanup grants, Transit-Oriented District planning and implementation grants, and Choice Neighborhood grants, the city has received more than $24 million in state and federal money for downtown Meriden in recent years.
Any visit downtown yields the sights of a city in transition, with construction in almost any direction one looks. The former Hub site is nearing completion as a flood storage basin and park; a new train station on State Street is taking shape; a Meriden Housing Authority and Westmount Development Group joint venture at 24 Colony St. is springing up; 11 Crown St., 116 Cook Ave., and the former Factory H site are all nearing cleanup and demolition; and residents of the Mills Memorial Apartment complex are leaving and the buildings are about to be torn down.
All this, while year after year, residents urge elected officials to attract more businesses and more private development to lighten the tax burden on homeowners.
According to information provided by city Economic Development Director Juliet Burdelski, within the past decade Meriden has received $24,401,000 in state and federal grants.
The city received at least $12.9 million toward the Hub park alone from the state Department of Economic and Community Development, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

LOOMFIELD — Growing numbers of residents from Bloomfield and surrounding communities who are opposed to the construction of a water-bottling plant in town packed a town council meeting Monday, asking the council once again to reverse course.
The group BloomfieldCitizens.org is opposed to a yet-to-be built 443,000-square-foot plant that would be run by California-based Niagara Bottling. The facility, which could be up and running later this year, would initially use up to 450,000 gallons of water a day, but could use as much as 1.8 million gallons a day at full capacity.
Opponents of the plant have said they are worried about the environmental impact of the Metropolitan District Commission supplying the company with that much water and the pollution caused by the production and distribution of plastic bottles.
The town council in January approved a tax abatement for the company, which town officials have said completed the deal for the company to come to town. News of the abatement sparked an outcry from opponents, who flooded the next council meeting asking for reconsideration without success. The group organized and went to another town council meeting before holding a forum on the issue that was attended by about 200 people last week. A similar opposition group has formed in West Hartford. The Bloomfield group has collected more than 1,100 signatures on a petition opposing the plant and feels that the town council has not taken its concerns seriously. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE


February 22, 2016

CT Construction Digest Feburary 22, 2016

East Hampton High School project on schedule for 2017 finish

As the high school renovation process nears its halfway mark the project remains on schedule.
Work on the $51 million project began in November 2014 and is scheduled to be completed in May 2017. By month’s end, six more revitalized classrooms will open. The classrooms “look fantastic,” project manager Charles E. “Chuck” Warrington told members of the School Building Committee on Thursday. The committee held its monthly meeting with the project architects, the general contractor, the project manager and Superintendent of Schools Paul Smith. “The smart boards are up, the bathrooms are finished,” Warrington said.
The wing that contains the classrooms “looks very good and we are looking forward to opening that up,” he added. Shortly after that, work will begin on the classrooms in the front of the school between the new science wing and the main entrance, he said.
The next phase of the project will also involve renovating the cafeteria kitchen and the school administration offices, Warrington said. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

New East Hampton town offices price tag could reach $28 million

EAST HAMPTON >> The Town Council was presented Tuesday with a series of options for reusing the Center School that range in cost from $18 million to as much as $28 million.
The choices were laid out for the council by representatives from Friar Associates, an architectural/engineering firm that has conducted two analyses in the past 10 years of the potential use of the school as a combination town hall/police station.
As the council began its workshop, Council Chairwoman Patience R. Anderson said it was her intent to find “the most viable option.” To do so, “I want to be sure we are doing our due diligence,” Anderson said. With that, the council sat back to listen to a presentation from Friar vice president Michael A. Soriano and Alicia Wakefield, the firm’s architectural project leader.
Two councilors were absent: Pete Brown, who was unavailable, and Melissa Engel, who could not get to the meeting because of trees and power lines that were brought down by the storm that swept through the region earlier in the day. Soriano said his projections involved determining if the school could accommodate the space needs of the town offices, the police department, and possibly the school administration offices which are now housed in a 19th-century building.
To gauge those needs, Soriano said he met individually with town staff to see what their space needs were. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Sheldon Road bridge repairs could take up to four years, Griswold officials say

GRISWOLD- The Sheldon Road bridge could be closed for up to four years, town officials said.
”There is no guarantee it won’t be longer,” First Selectman Kevin Skulczyck said. “People should be prepared for the long haul.”
Sheldon Road runs between routes 138 and 165, two of the town’s main state roads. Many people use the road to cross between one road and the other.
The bridge, which carries the road over Glasgo Pond, was abruptly closed Feb. 2 because an inspection showed the foundation was severely eroded making it unsafe for motorists and pedestrians. Town officials said the cost of repairs could be as high as $1.5 million. It is a town bridge, so taxpayers will have to foot the bill. Skulczyck said the drawdown of Glasgo Pond, which began last summer, is being blamed for the bridge’s severe erosion. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has drawn down the water in the pond in order to repair the pond’s dam. “The pressure the water placed on the bridge held the bridge material up,” Skulczyck said, “but when the water was drawn down, the pressure wasn’t in the same place and the foundation began to fall apart.” CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Report: More than 350 CT bridges ‘structurally deficient’

Washington – A transportation builders' association says 357 bridges in Connecticut are “structurally deficient,” meaning one or more key elements, such as the deck or substructure, are considered to be in “poor” condition – or worse.
The American Road and Transportation Builders Association report, which is based on U.S. Department of Transportation ratings, is one of several studies that come out every year on the nation’s infrastructure. They all agree the nation’s roads and bridges need a massive infusion of help.
The U.S. DOT’s rating of a bridge as “structurally deficient” does not mean it’s in danger of collapse. Local or state officials shut down a bridges that are in danger of collapse. And although there have been disastrous collapses –  like 1983 collapse of the I-95 bridge over the Mianus River in Greenwich that killed three people -- they are very rare.
But the bridges on the structurally deficient list are in need of repair and may be subject to weight restrictions.
“It is important to note that these bridges are safe,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation spokesman Judd Everhart. “Our bridges are inspected at least every two years and those that are in lesser condition are inspected more frequently. If we determined that any bridge is unsafe, we would close it immediately and keep it closed until repairs can be made or the bridge replaced.”
The good news for the nation about the ARTBA’s latest report is that there are about 2,500 fewer structurally deficient bridges in the United States than there were a year ago. Still, nearly 59,000 bridges are officially classified as structurally deficient by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The good news for Connecticut is that it’s not at the top of the list of states with the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges. Those are Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Iowa, were more than 20 percent of bridges were in poor shape or worse.
With 8 percent of the state’s 4,225 bridges deemed structurally deficient, Connecticut ranked 26 among all 50 states and the District of Columbia CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Construction Firms Add 18,000 Workers in January

Construction firms added 18,000 workers in January, as the industry's unemployment rate declined to a 17-year low of 8.5 percent, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the number of construction jobs added in January was down compared to the last three months of 2015 and could reflect either a slowdown in nonresidential construction activity or an inability of contractors to find qualified workers.
“While the construction industry continues to add jobs, the January figures mark a significant decline in the rate of growth compared to the end of last year,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “It will take a few months to evaluate whether firms are running out of people to hire or if broader economic uncertainty is leading to a decline in demand for many types of construction services.”
Construction employment totaled 6.6 million in January, the most since December 2008, and is up by 264,000 jobs compared to a year ago, a 4.2 percent increase. Residential construction increased by 20,100 in January and by 149,500, or 6.2 percent, compared to a year ago. Nonresidential construction employment declined by 2,300 jobs for the month but was up 115,000 jobs compared to last January, a 2.9 percent increase.
The number of unemployed jobseekers in January who last worked in construction totaled 729,000. The unemployment rate for such workers was 8.5 percent. Both the number and the rate were the lowest January figures since the series were introduced in 2000. Meanwhile, Census Bureau data released on February 1 showed that construction spending experienced only slight growth between November and December, and has been limited to residential building. Nonresidential construction spending by both the private and public sectors has been flat or declining since July 2015. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

February 19, 2016

CT Construction Digest February 19, 2016

Construction company’s Westport headquarters makes way for new development

On a road known across the state for development based almost entirely on cars, a different trend is emerging on Westport’s section of Route 1.
The longtime home of the Kowalsky Brothers Construction Co. is slated for a mixed-use development after the building was sold last month, joining a neighboring property in combining homes and businesses on one site.
“It’s making creative use of the property,” First Selectman Jim Marpe said. “The residential aspect is primarily away from the Post Road, which makes it more appealing because it’s not right up against a very busy street. And you’re putting the housing near to other residences.”
 The property at 1141 Post Road East was purchased in late January for $4 million by a company controlled by Coastal Construction Group, which is known for luxury home construction. Kowalsky Brothers had been headquartered there for more than 30 years.
From the New York state line up through Fairfield County and into Milford and beyond, Route 1 is characterized in large part by shopping plazas that discourage anything other than driving. As the main east-west alternative to Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway, the road sees plenty of traffic when the highways back up. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Casino Study Bill Could Force Tribes to Move Faster

upporters of the casino plan for central Connecticut could now face another roadblock in the form of a bill proposed Thursday that would require the state to study "the costs and benefits of establishing commercial gaming."
If adopted, the bill would end any chance of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes gaining approval for a third casino in the 2016 session — something that might not have happened anyway.
The state would take a breather and look, for example, at the merits of opening a third casino in southwestern Connecticut instead of the Hartford area. That's a plan being pushed by MGM Springfield and its supporters, who say a casino developed solely to siphon visitors to the Springfield resort off I-91 will fail.

February 18, 2016

CT Construction Digest February 18, 2016

Stamford neighbors concerned about a rock crushing operation

 STAMFORD — It’s a well-watched construction site.
Neighbors have been eyeballing it almost since work began in November 2014.
Maybe it’s because the 17 acres at Scofieldtown and Rockrimmon roads have been an eyesore for generations — landfill, dilapidated park, recycling center, a place to compost leaves and store road salt — and neighbors are anxious to see the finished product.
City engineers hired AMEC Construction to cap the contaminated landfill, cover it with a membrane then top that with 2 feet of clean soil. About half the site will be a new park and the rest will house a recycling center and road-salt shed.
Neighbors have noted the increasing height of the berm, the rolls of membrane piled at the edges of the work site, and the big red dump trucks that come and go in an endless line.
It’s the ever-busy rock-crushing machines, though, that raise eyebrows the most. Workers continuously load chunks of stone and cement into the crushers, screen the processed material, load it into dump trucks and haul it away.
Some neighbors have written to city and state officials to say something’s fishy. At least one neighbor followed a few of the dump trucks, capturing the trips on video.
A couple of weeks ago, a flier appeared in neighbors’ mailboxes. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Testing the waters: City plans to enter deal with Tilcon to develop new reservoir

NEW BRITAIN — City officials have dusted off a plan to develop a clean-water reservoir on the site of the Tilcon quarry off Black Rock Avenue, almost 10 years after a nearly-identical proposal died at the state Capitol.
In the plan, New Britain leases to Tilcon a 131-acre quarry site that the company will use for mining while creating a new drinking water reserve. The 40-year agreement would ultimately produce a reservoir on 239 acres of watershed property and 327 acres of open space spread out between New Britain and the abutting towns of Plainville and Southington.
Mayor Erin Stewart said on Wednesday she was determined that the reservoir plan would not succumb to the same fate as a 2007 deal that was approved by the legislature but eventually repealed. To combat a carbon-copy campaign of “misinformation and interference of politics” that Stewart said killed the proposal a decade ago, detailed letters were hand-delivered last week to city residents living near the Tilcon site. At a forum hosted by the city at Lincoln School Wednesday night, nearly 60 people showed up to hear additional details of the project and ask questions of city leaders, Tilcon and the water department.
“While we’re trying to get the bill raised in the Public Health Committee, we also want to get feedback from the residents in the process,” said Stewart. “A mistake that was made (in 2007) was that it was started late in the legislative process and it ended up getting tacked on to another bill and some people felt they didn’t have all the proper information.”
Gilbert Bligh, deputy director of the city’s public works department, said the proposal was resurrected because, like in 2007, water levels last year concerned officials as the Shuttle Meadow Reservoir experienced a “reoccurring interval of going in and out of water supply droughts.” He said the development of the quarry site has the potential to add 4.75-billion gallons to the reserves. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Villa Capri closing in July, proposal calls for demolition of building for construction of Cumberland Farms

WALLINGFORD — The Mesite family will be closing its banquet facility, Villa Capri, in July after 56 years of business. The family has been in negotiations with Cumberland Farms, which is proposing to build a gas station and convenience store on the Route 5 property.
Villa Capri will close on July 31, 2016, according to a statement by the family.
“It was a difficult decision for the family to close the Villa Capri, but we have decided to move on to the next chapter in our lives while keeping many fond, wonderful memories,” the statement read. “We have had many offers in the past, but at this time in our lives, our family has decided to entertain an offer so that we can continue to concentrate on running all of our Sonic of CT franchise stores, while building our brand, and our current business investments along with new ventures to come.”
Villa Capri was founded in 1960 by George and Rosalie Mesite and started primarily as a restaurant featuring Italian cuisine. Villa Capri originally opened at 728 N. Colony Road and moved farther north into a larger location at 906 N. Colony Road.
Villa Capri evolved into a banquet facility and a venue to host weddings and other events. The building can accommodate up to 400 guests, according to its website.
Gina Mesite Mueller said the decision to close was hard for the family.
“We refused a lot of offers over the years. It’s (a) heartfelt (decision) for us,” she said. “This was my dad’s legacy. He touched a lot of people with this place. He built a name for himself.” CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
The price to guarantee that power plants will be available when they're needed most has come down from last year, according to grid operator ISO-New England.
ISO-NE's 10th annual forward-capacity auction (FCA) wrapped up last week, securing more than 34,000 megawatts worth of commitments for 2019-2020. Preliminary results reported by ISO-NE pegged the total cost of the commitments at approximately $3 billion, down from $4 billion in last year's auction for 2018-2019.
Generators that cleared FCA 10 will receive monthly payments during the delivery year in exchange for their promise to provide power to the grid when called upon.
More than 1,400 megawatts of new power plants cleared the auction.
ISO-NE CEO Gordon van Welie said in a statement that power developers are attracted to the forward capacity market because it places "an appropriate value" on constructing new plants to meet future demand. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Alexion expands to all of 100 College St., so Yale buys 350 George

NEW HAVEN >> Yale University has bought property from Carter Winstanley to provide more laboratory space for its medical school researchers, now that Alexion Pharmaceuticals will occupy every floor of its new headquarters at 100 College St.
The $16.5 million sale is for the office building at 350 George St. that Frontier Communications sold to WE Acquisitions in October, a structure originally used by the Southern New England Telephone Co. Winstanley bought the three-story office building and an adjacent four-story garage for $20 million in October. The sale to Yale took place in mid-November and does not include the 490-space garage.
Bruce Alexander, Yale’s vice president and director of New Haven and state affairs, said that originally, when Winstanley was overseeing the construction of 100 College St., Yale had committed to taking 110,000 square feet in the research lab building.
The building is the first major structure in the Downtown Crossing, where the state and the city plan to reclaim about 12 acres of land that was part of the Route 34 connector, a move that begins to reknit downtown with the Hill neighborhood. As Alexion projected its growing space needs, Alexander said it first asked Yale if it could occupy half of the space the university was counting on at 100 College St. It later requested the rest of the 110,000 square feet. “We wanted to support Alexion’s growth in downtown New Haven,” Alexander said of Yale’s willingness to give up the lease. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Renovation draws 4 bids

WOODBURY — Four companies submitted bids to be the owner's project manager for the Nonnewaug High School renovation project. The Region 14 building committee overseeing the $63.8 million project sent out a request for owner's project manager bids and received the proposals at its regular meeting Tuesday night.
The four companies are Colliers International, Construction Solutions Group, CREC Construction Division and The Morganti Group Inc.
Region 14 Superintendent Anna Cutaia-Leonard said this is where committee members' homework begins as they will study all four proposals.
The firms will each give 30-minute presentations to committee members in executive session at the next building committee meeting on March 1.
Cutaia-Leonard said that after hearing the four proposals, the committee may recommend one firm as its top choice. uilding Committee Chairman George Bauer said the chosen owner's project manager will work on behalf of the school district supervising the project budget and schedule, and will work with local agencies on issues pertaining to land use and wetlands.
The committee is also working to complete the contract with the project architect, after which the architect will begin meeting with educators to confirm their needs, Cutaia-Leonard said.
The committee will also be looking for a project construction manager shortly thereafter, she said.
Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury serves students primarily in the Region 14 towns of Woodbury and Bethlehem.


February 17, 2016

CT Construction Digest February 17, 2016

Powerscreen New England Becomes Manchester Recycling & Materials 'Prince' of Equipment

According to popular lore, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome prince. In the case of Manchester Recycling & Materials, the frogs were the various types of crushing and screening equipment it has owned over the years. The prince? It's Powerscreen equipment.
Manchester Recycling & Materials was originally founded in Manchester, Conn., and recently relocated to Hartford, Conn. The company's motto is “The Greatest Topsoil on Planet Earth” and since 1998 it has been providing top quality organic screened topsoil, stone, mulch and more for Connecticut area contractors and landscapers. It also specializes in recycling construction materials, including concrete, brick and asphalt, either on site or in its yard, depending on the needs of the contractors.
President Michael Maglieri started his career mowing lawns with his father in the 1970s. In 1998, he began investing in crushing and screening equipment.
“We had a yard where we accepted recyclable material and sold topsoil. We've always prided ourselves in creating a high quality product and the result has been a steady growth in business. When we first started out most of our recycling projects were in our yard and we bought some older equipment that we could afford at the time to get started with,” Maglieri said.
     As the company's volume grew and the demand for onsite processing grew, Manchester Recycling started purchasing newer and certainly more mobile equipment. Quick setup and teardown, reliability and maneuverability are essential.
“Initially the mobile machines we purchased were fine machines; however, they were designed for low volume. Today we get involved in some significant onsite processing jobs and the demand for a very mobile machine with easy setup and teardown drove us to once again upgrade our fleet.” CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Greenway's gap in Cheshire to close

CHESHIRE — One of the longest remaining gaps in Connecticut's stretch of the East Coast Greenway is closer to being closed. After years of planning and construction, town officials expect to have the 1.5 mile section of trail between Main Street and Jarvis Street open by May. Cheshire resident Beth Weldon is looking forward to taking her kids out on the trail, part of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, an 84-mile byway from New Haven to Massachusetts, this summer.
"I'm excited for it to open," Weldon said Tuesday after coming from the Community Pool with her two children. She anticipates using the trail regularly on weekends and possibly more when school is out. "We'll probably use it mostly for biking." The extension through Cheshire has encountered difficulties, with three sections still unfinished. Cheshire Town Manager Michael A. Milone said the town is responsible for construction from West Main to Jarvis. Construction of two additional sections, north of Jarvis Street to the Southington line, and south of Main to Cornwall Street, is managed by the state. Milone said the Main Street to Jarvis portion will open before summer and the section connecting Cheshire and Southington will likely open later in the fall. The Cornwall section will not be completed until next year. "It's been more complicated," Milone said, referring to the short section of trail south of Main Street. Planning was delayed for over a decade by a land-use lawsuit and wetland considerations posed obstacles to construction. Milone estimated that the cost for the shortest section of the trail would be the most expensive. "The state stepping in was a godsend."
Without the state's assistance, Milone said the project would have taken 10 to 15 years to complete and would have cost the town much more than the $340,000 budgeted for the project. State and federal grants are paying for 90 percent of the trail's construction costs and the town has received additional money for ancillary projects attached to the trail. "We applied for a STEAP, Small Town Economic Assistance Program, grant to do improvements along Main Street to complement the trail," Milone said. A $500,000 grant will be used for a parking lot and restrooms. Another will be used to add a sidewalk on the north side of Main Street. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

February 16, 2016

CT Construction Digest February 16, 2016

Connecticut Water to increase spending on infrastructure improvements

Connecticut Water will increase its spending on infrastructure improvements this year by 39.5 percent to $58.6 million, officials with the Clinton-based utility said this week.
Last year, Connecticut Water spent $42 million on improvements to water treatment systems, replacement of aging pipelines, upgrades to cyber security and other projects.
Of this year’s spending, $18 million will go toward what is known as Water Infrastructure and Conservation Adjustment (WICA) program. That is important to ratepayers because WICA expenses are allowed to be recovered through a customer surcharge after they are reviewed by utility regulators, according to Dan Meaney, a spokesman for Connecticut Water.
Any other improvements that don’t relate to infrastructure or water conservation must be approved by regulators, as well, through a request for higher rates. Meany said Connecticut Water’s last rate case was in 2010 and the company does not plan to seek one from utility regulators this year. Craig Patla, the company’s vice president of service delivery, said since the inception of WICA in 2008, Connecticut Water has replaced more than 80 miles of old and undersized water mains, or about five percent of its distribution system. Overall, Patla said $105 million has been invested through WICA over the past 8 years, which represents an investment of about $1,115 for each of the utility’s 91,000 customers in Connecticut. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Zoning change sought for Cromwell’s former Nike site

CROMWELL >> A Hamden developer has proposed a zone change for the former Nike site that could open the way for construction of as many as 160 high-end apartment units.
The Planning & Zoning Commission’s review of the Belfonti Companies proposal continues Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the upstairs meeting room at Town Hall.
The 8.74-acre Nike site, which is located at the end of Country Squire Road, has been closed and left vacant for years. It is “in a state of some disrepair at this time,” according to a description in Belfonti’s application. The property was one of a series of a dozen anti-missile/anti-aircraft sites scattered across Connecticut in the depths of the Cold War in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The site is zoned for single-family residential housing.
However, last summer, the PZC revised a portion of the zoning regulations, Town Planner Stuart Popper said in an interview in his Town Hall office last week. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Southington bridge project subject of Wednesday meeting

SOUTHINGTON — Rehabilitation and the traffic impact of a West Center Street bridge will be the topic of a public information meeting this week.
The bridge carrying West Center Street over the Eightmile River is in need of repair to its deck. According to a state inspection in 2014, the 55-year-old bridge’s “concrete riding surface has uneven bituminous patches, (chips) and hollow areas throughout.” The “underside of the deck deterioration is estimated at over 40 percent and the condition is rapidly worsening.” 
The work will cost about $1.5 million. The state will pick up about $718,000 or 48 percent of the cost and the town would pay the remaining 52 percent. The town engineering department will meet Wednesday at 6 p.m. to talk with residents about the project and its effect on traffic. The meeting will be in the assembly room of the Municipal Office Building, 196 N. Main St.
The restoration will include some lane closures. According to Public Works Director Keith Hayden, the plan is to install traffic lights alternating one way traffic across the deck. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
BEACON FALLS — A company that has proposed what it says will be the largest fuel cell project in the world has officially submitted its bid to regional authorities, which must approve its plans to build here on Lopus Road. Beacon Falls Energy Park LLC is one of dozens of companies nationwide to bid for clean energy projects through the New England Clean Energy Request for Proposal organization. It wants to construct a 63.3-megawatt fuel cell project.
The plans have been unanimously approved by the Connecticut Siting Council, which reviews all energy generation proposals in the state, and now all bids must be reviewed by the clean energy organization. It was established by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Eversource Energy, National Grid and Unitil to identify projects that will advance the clean energy goals of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, according to the organization's website.
William Corvo, manager of Beacon Falls Energy Park, believes his team has proposed the best project to meet those goals.
"The Beacon Falls Energy Park proposal offers the many benefits of renewable, clean and affordable in-state generation to Connecticut," he said. "Many of the competing bids involve wind, solar or hydroelectric projects, which would be developed and built to generate and bring electricity to Connecticut from as far away as Maine and from outside of New England — in Maryland, New York and Canada."
Fuel cells, which are considered a Class I renewable energy source in Connecticut, generate continuous power and are not dependent on the weather or time of day, unlike intermittent renewables such as solar or wind, he said. Because of their continuous availability, fuel cells avoid the cost and pollutants incurred by intermittent projects, which require parking power generation when the sun does not shine and wind is not available. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE