Preston — Residents sent a proposed $3.84 million five-year capital spending plan for town and school vehicles and projects to an Oct. 10 referendum Thursday after discussing the package at a town meeting.
About 30 residents at the town meeting voted overwhelmingly to set the hours of the Oct. 10 referendum from noon to 8 p.m. at Town Hall, 389 Route 2. Absentee ballots will be available starting Tuesday.
The spending proposals total $3.757 million, with an additional $82,201 added to cover financing and legal costs of the bonding, bringing the total to $3.84 million.
Board of Finance Chairman Norman Gauthier said two current big bonds the town now is carrying, including one for construction of the Preston Veterans’ Memorial School, will be paid off in 2020. The new capital bond would start in 2019 at $107,000 for the first two years, jumping to $402,000 in 2021, after the other bonds are retired.
Gauthier said the new capital bond would have a “very, very minor” impact on annual town taxes. But because the town is in revaluation now, Gauthier said he could not estimate the tax rate on the bond cost.
The capital plan includes $1.9 million for the schools, including the purchase of 11 school buses, two 9-passenger school vans and a wheelchair lift vehicle, spread out over the five years to ensure the school system would have buses of varying ages. Gauthier called the purchases essential, since the Board of Education decided to keep its own school bus service.
“It has to be done,” he said of the school bus purchases, "We need to have reliable, safe buses for our children.”
The capital plan also includes repaving the school bus garage lot and the parking area at Preston Plains Middle School, replacing 175 student lockers at the middle school, upgrading science labs and repairing the middle school roof. The gym floor would be replaced at Preston Veterans’ Memorial School and the playground would be resurfaced.
A new pumper firetruck, estimated at $600,000, would be purchased in 2020-21 and a tanker truck, costing an estimated $400,000 in 2018-19. This year $40,000 will be spent to replace a fire service truck and an additional $40,000 will be used to purchase self-contained breathing apparatus. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
DOT to delay detour of Route 1 in Old Saybrook
The state Department of Transportation has announced that it is postponing a detour and closure of Route 1 in Old Saybrook. A new date has not yet been announced.
The detour originally was scheduled to take place from 7 p.m. Sept. 29 to 5 a.m. Oct. 4 as DOT works to replace the Route 1 bridge over Center Brook.
The construction project calls for the "replacement of the bridge with a precast box culvert and precast wingwalls," according to the news release. The project will begin with the relocation of existing utilities and the reconstruction of the east and west approaches to the bridge. It will include drainage and roadway improvements, as well as improvements to signalization at the intersection of Route 1 and Center Road.
The project was awarded to LaRosa Earth Group LLC for $1,079,219.40.
MGM Springfield On Track To Open In Year, Details Emerging
he MGM casino and entertainment complex now under construction in Springfield is on track to open in a year and details are now emerging on just what attractions will be offered to visitors.
MGM Springfield officials told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Thursday the development will now include more table games than first planned, a jewelry store, a six-screen theater with the latest amenities and a high-profile candle store.
MGM Springfield said the casino’s poker room will now have 23 tables, increased from 16.“There’s unquestionable data that table games is making a bit of a comeback in terms of the mix with slots,” Michael Mathis, president of MGM Springfield, said.
Mathis said market research and MGM’s observations at the opening of its casino at Washington D.C.’s National Harbor show that millennials are increasingly gravitating to table games.“The younger demographic is skewing away from the traditional slot product and towards and interactive, communal table game experience,” Mathis said. “And I think we sort of laid the groundwork for a potential change in our mix and this is the first reflection of this.” The testimony before the gaming commission comes two weeks after MGM Resorts International made a splashy announcement for a $675 million gambling and entertainment venue in Bridgeport. The plan would require the approval of state lawmakers.
MGM Springfield is expected to place more competitive pressure on Connecticut’s two tribal gaming venues: Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun. The legislature this year backed a joint venture of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun to establish a “satellite” casino in East Windsor to help prevent gaming dollars in Connecticut from migrating to Springfield. Construction has yet to begin in East Windsor, but the tribes have said they intended to start this year.
The cost of MGM Springfield, set to open in September 2018, is now pegged at $960 million, up slightly from earlier estimates of about $950 million. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
Collapsed Sewer Closes Homestead Avenue; Repairs Expected To Take 10 Days
A sewer collapse on Homestead Avenue will cause a commuting nightmare for people in the western suburbs who work in Hartford.
Metropolitan District Commission workers found a massive void between the roadway and it is expected to take as long as 10 days to make repairs.
The city said the void beneath the heavily-traveled roadway is about 20 feet long and 14 feet deep.
Homestead Avenue will be closed between Albany Avenue and Woodland Street, and detours will be in place, although police urged motorists to seek alternate routes. “We are taking this action as a necessary precaution, as we believe there is some risk that the void underneath the road on Homestead Avenue could have caused the road surface to collapse under extreme weight,” said interim Public Works Director Reginald Freeman. “The City and MDC are working closely together to determine the scope of the problem and we will update the public as we learn more.
The MDC said the construction work is expected to take place 24 hours a day, seven days a week until it is complete. The regional water agency said it expects the work to take 10 days.
West-bound drivers on Homestead will be redirected either north or south on Woodland Street and drivers on Albany Avenue will not be able to turn onto Homestead Avenue, the city said.
Residents of Baltimore Street will be able to enter and exit the street from Albany Avenue because it’s a two-way street, officials said. Kent, Adams, and Milford streets will remain one-way streets but police will allow residents to use Homestead Avenue to enter or exit their street as needed.
AGC Numbers Are In: Did Your Area Add Construction Jobs?
Construction employment increased in 274 out of 358 metro areas between August 2016 and August 2017, declined in 52 and stagnated in 32, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released Sept. 27, by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
Association officials noted that the construction job gains come even as 70 percent of responding firms reported having a hard time finding qualified craft workers to hire.
Take a look at where your area fit in: CLICK T ITLE TO CONTINUE
CTDOT Selects Contractor for $237M Norwalk Projects
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has awarded the contract for the CP243 Interlocking and Danbury Branch Dockyard projects in Norwalk to Cianbro-Middlesex Joint Venture (JV) on Aug. 2, 2017. These projects are part of the Walk Bridge Program.
The $237 million contract is the first that CTDOT has awarded under the construction manager/general contractor (CM/GC) alternative contracting method. In CM/GC, the contractor is selected based on technical ability and works as part of the team during design development. This process encourages innovation, leads to schedule certainty, and reduces risk during the construction phase. Further, the contract value is a negotiated price which is verified against an independent cost estimate prepared by a professional estimating firm.
The contract was awarded to the joint venture on Aug. 2 and the contractor was given a “notice to proceed” on Aug. 9, 2017. The team is now establishing work areas located close to the railroad tracks at the end of Goldstein Place and in the parking lot of 10 Norden Place. Construction is expected to begin in late September and continue for three years.
The CP243 Interlocking Project will construct a new four-track interlocking, a powered switch and signal system that allows trains to move from one track to another. The project is located approximately 1.5 mi. east of the Walk Bridge on the New Haven Line between the East Norwalk and Westport stations. Overhead catenary and signal work extends west to South Norwalk Station.
The Danbury Branch Dockyard Project will improve and electrify the southern portion of the Danbury branch line, from where it splits from the main line to approximately one mile north, at an area commonly referred to as the Dockyard. The Dockyard is where trains are stored and staged when not in use on the main line, near Science Road and Interstate 95. These improvements will allow commuter trains that begin or end in Norwalk to turn, or switch direction.
These projects are independent of the replacement of the 121-year old Walk Railroad Bridge over the Norwalk River, and are designed to improve the dependability of operations on the main line during construction of the new bridge. The sequencing of the work will allow for continuous use of two of the four tracks running through that section of the New Haven Line.
The Walk Bridge Program team will hold a public meeting on the construction details of the CP243 Interlocking and Danbury Branch Dockyard projects at Norwalk City Hall in September.