September 13, 2017

CT Construction Digest Wednesday September 13, 2017

Congressman Larson is hosting Chairman Bill Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio in the district on Friday. Both members will be joining Congressman Larson for a press conference at 10:30 AM on the tunnel proposal and other transportation related projects. We hope that you will be able to join us for this.
LARSON TO HOST HOUSE TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP TO DISCUSS THE I-84/I-91 TUNNEL PROPOSAL Hartford, CT – On Friday, September 15th at 10:30 am, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) will host the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (PA-09) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (OR-04) to discuss the I-84 and I-91 Tunnel proposal.
The three Members will discuss the future of infrastructure in America and how bold projects, like the I-84 and I-91 Tunnel proposal, are needed nationwide.
Who:  Rep. John Larson, Chairman Bill Shuster, Ranking Member Peter DeFazio
What: Press Conference on I-84/I-91 Tunnel Proposal
Where/When: Friday, September 15, 2017 10:30 AM  Hearing Room 1A Legislative Office Building  300 Capitol Avenue Hartford, CT

Bristol City Council OKs state grant application for Memorial Boulevard magnet school

BRISTOL - City Council unanimously approved a motion for the Board of Education to apply for a grant to renovate the former Memorial Boulevard School into a magnet school Tuesday night.
The grant would pay for construction of the Memorial Boulevard Intradistrict Arts Magnet School for grades 6 to 12.
In January, city officials took a tour of the former Memorial Boulevard School and began discussing the possibility that the state would be awarding funds to construct additional magnet schools, Susan Moreau, deputy superintendent of schools, said to the council.
This school would be an intradistrict school, which means it is in Bristol, for Bristol students, Moreau said, “However, it could be that tuition could be paid by surrounding towns for students to attend the school as well.” She added that if the grant is appropriated, it would occur in April of 2018.
“This grant will allow for the total renovation of the auditorium, as well as the entire building, and we would expect to have some agreements if we were to get this funding. This resolution says you can accept or reject it when the funds are appropriated - if they are appropriated. They would appropriate the funds at that time [April 2018], but we have to have an application in or they won’t even consider us,” Moreau said.
The grant would be through the Office of School Construction Grants of the Department of Administrative Services.
Moreau noted that when the funds are appropriated, it will be known whether the city “will want to proceed with” its “renovations and have the opportunity to do even more for the community.”
Mayor Ken Cockayne said, “This does not slow down the design work that is currently happening for phase one. That project is still moving forward, so we are kind of moving parallel. The only way things will slow down, is if the design work is done before the decision. Then we will kind of pull on the reins a little bit to see if we will get the funding, but I think the design work is going to be well passed that.”  CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Employee assistance programs offer a bridge to addiction recovery

For most of his 46 years, Dino has worked lifting heavy loads at Connecticut construction sites, as a crane operator.
In his free time, he also lifted heavy loads in the gym, chiseling his stocky frame. But when Dino, whose last name is being omitted to shield his privacy, injured a shoulder in training, he was prescribed Percoset — a painkiller brand that combines acetaminophen and oxycodone, an opioid. Opioids are a class of natural and synthetic compounds found in narcotics, like heroin and morphine, that act on the body's central nervous system to relieve pain or sedate users.
The shoulder healed, but Dino found himself eventually tethered to a smorgasbord of synthetics: the Percoset made it hard to sleep, so he turned to pills for that. Then, he embraced Valium, prescribed for anxiety disorders, just to function, Dino said.
Before long, he said he was spiraling down, to the point he began missing work. A senior official in the construction union where Dino was a member intervened, threatening him with no work assignments if he didn't take advantage of the union's employee assistance program and get professional help.
"Wow, I didn't realize it had gotten that bad,'' Dino said he recalled at the time.
"The addict is the last to know,'' said Kyle Zimmer, health and safety director at the operating-engineers union, IUOE Local 478, in Hamden, of which Dino is a member.
Employee assistance programs, or EAPs, exist as part of employee-benefits packages at most major employers' — and to a lesser extent in smaller employers' — offices, workplaces and shop floors in the country. With formal roots that date to the mid-1950s, EAPs hark to the days, experts say, when one worker would notice another intoxicated on the shop floor, and intervene to get them treatment so they could return productively to work.
Today, however, opioids have replaced alcohol as a major substance of choice among people looking for synthetic relief from life's day-to-day demands or an addiction.
And the growing opioid crisis is expected to increase the need and role of EAPs as "bridges'' between struggling employees and employers, EAP experts say.
On Oct. 1, federal law takes effect requiring employers and federal agencies to screen for four more opioids — hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone and oxymorphone — that have increasingly been showing up in workers' drug tests.
Dan Boissonneault, a certified EAP professional who is president of the Connecticut Employee Assistance Professionals Association, says widened testing for those narcotics will likely prompt users to turn to corporate and labor-union EAPs for help. The law mandates that workers in "safety-sensitive'' industries such as construction, commercial drivers/chauffeurs, airplane mechanics, etc., must be randomly tested for additional opioids, along with the standing list of drugs that includes morphine and codeine.
"I think we're going to see more activity in safety-sensitive areas,'' said Boissonneault, who works for East Hartford jet-engine maker Pratt & Whitney and by contract acts as senior EAP coordinator for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 26. He also sits on the board of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association.
EAPs are also still around, ostensibly to not only help opioid, alcohol and marijuana users, but also help others struggling with the myriad pressures 21st-century workers encounter — problems with finances, significant others, the law, etc.
But experts who hail EAPs and the purposes for which they were created claim many employers today have emasculated their programs, making them more tools of punishment than reclamation vehicles.
"EAPs have become commoditized and a political creature,'' said Joel Bennett, of Fort Worth, Texas, who consults with private employers, nonprofits and municipalities on organizational health and employee well-being.
Bennett contends, and others concur, that too much emphasis from EAPs nowadays is short-term, revolving-door treatment, particularly with opioid misusers, rather than on prevention.
"EAPs work if they promote healthy use of [painkiller] substances,'' Bennett said. "EAPs need to educate employers as to what those look like.'' CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Wallingford council approves adding $600,000 for sewer facility plan

WALLINGFORD — The Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a $600,000 budget amendment requested by the Sewer Division for a study to examine the town’s wastewater treatment plant.
The Sewer Division is preparing a study, called a facility plan, for “anticipated changes in the permitted phosphorus discharge” allowed by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, according to a memo written by Neil Amwake, general manager of the Water and Sewer Divisions.
“The town’s wastewater treatment plan has been in continuous operation for more than 28 years with no comprehensive study undertaken in that time period to thoroughly review, assess and evaluate the equipment or processes,” Amwake said in the memo, which was sent last month to Public Utilities Director Richard Hendershot.
The plan has two phases. The first includes studies of three phosphorus treatment technologies, according to Amwake’s memo. The second involves a comprehensive evaluation of the existing wastewater treatment facility, including structures, equipment and processes.
“There are aspects and parts of the plant that really need to be repaired and replaced as anyone would expect after that length of time,” Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said.
In December 2015, the Sewer Division budgeted $500,000 in its 2016-17 capital budget for the wastewater facility plan. That amount is augmented by the $600,000 approved by the council. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
Connecticut workers in the transportation and construction industries are advocating for increased infrastructure spending as they highlight a new report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.
The report, titled "The Economic Impact of Failing to Invest in Connecticut's Highways, Bridges and Transit," lays out two investment scenarios and their impacts over the next 20 years.
The first is if transportation infrastructure is funded to the levels laid out in Gov. Dannel Malloy's 2015 "Let's Go CT" plan. The second is for minimum investment, with federal funding and a 20 percent state match for bridge/highway investment, and transit investment at current levels. Average annual investment over the next 20 years for the two scenarios would be $2.42 billion and $1.28 billion, respectively.
The Connecticut Construction Industries Association commissioned ARTBA to complete the report after seeing the state House Democrats' budget proposal.
CCIA President Don Shubert said he was disturbed by two things in the proposal. The first was a shift in tax revenue from transportation to the general fund, and the second — also a facet of the state House Republicans' proposal — was a $700 million bond cap.
"We don't think diverting your attention from transportation is really going to help in the long run," Shubert said.
Similarly, Connecticut AAA spokeswoman Amy Parmenter said her agency has been "aggressively" campaigning for the transportation lockbox, to ensure that that funds earmarked for certain projects aren't used elsewhere.
"Can you imagine a situation where someone collects money from you under one pretense and goes and spends it differently?" Parmenter questioned. "I think in general that doesn't sit well with the voters, and it doesn't sit well with AAA."
As for the $700 million bond cap proposal, the state Department of Transportation estimates that a $900 million bonding level is necessary to support the transportation program, according to ARTBA's report.
DOT expressed concern that the lower bond cap could delay or cancel 22 highway, bridge and construction projects, including the $97 million Gold Star Bridge northbound span work between New London and Groton.
The report argues that greater funding for transportation infrastructure leads to more jobs across industries, increased business output that results in lower costs and fewer roadway fatalities, as well as savings to drivers due to less congestion and lower maintenance costs
It estimates that the $2.42-billion-per-year, needs-based plan would save an average of $904 million per year in maintenance costs. The investment in construction activity would support 26,000 jobs annually, compared to 11,700 for the minimum investment scenario.
The report also estimates the impact of both scenarios on seven key industries in the state: health care/bioscience, insurance and financial services, advanced manufacturing, digital media, tourism and green technologies. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Tuesday September 12, 2017

Judd Road to be closed for Norwich Public Utilities water tank replacement

Waterbury aldermen agree to borrow $9.5 million for greenway

Monday September 11, 2017

Wallingford Sewer Division seeking $600,000 budget amendment for wastewater treatment plant analysis

Owner of Norwich portion of former Norwich Hospital owes nearly $82,000 in back taxes
Construction of new school underway at Grasso Tech

Friday September 8, 2017

City releases increased hiring of minorities, women, residents on school construction projects

Huge construction cranes loom over Miami as Irma threatens

Amazon wants to open a $5 billion second HQ in North America

Temporary repairs to Pawcatuck bridge could begin this fall

Future New London magnet schools undergo new changes

Stonington approves another $88,000 to fix Bayview Avenue drainage problem

What’s delaying the demolition of the Mills apartments in Meriden?

East Hampton’s renovated $51.7 million high school to be dedicated Friday

Thursday September 7, 2017
Wednesday September 6, 2017
Tuesday September 5, 2017