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CT Construction Digest Thursday April 23, 2020

Project work to shift traffic on Merritt Parkway in Westport
Jim Shay
WESTPORT - As part of a five-mile, $57 million improvement project on the Merritt Parkway, the northbound and southbound traffic lanes approaching and crossing the Saugatuck River Bridge are being shifted to support the next stage of bridge restoration work.
The traffic shifts and Jersey barrier moves will occur during evening and nighttime hours from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Lane closures and the closure of the Exit 42 northbound on-ramp and the Exit 42 southbound off-ramp will occur during this time to remove existing and place new pavement markings.
Message boards and a signed detour will be in place providing motorists advance notice and directions for alternate access to the Parkway. All detours utilize the entrance and exit ramps for Exit 40, 41, 42 and 44 to gain access to the parkway
All motorists traveling on the Merritt Parkway are required to obey posted vehicle restrictions and are reminded that no vehicles over 8 feet tall are allowed on the Parkway. The existing vertical clearance under the Newtown Turnpike Bridge is lower than the existing bridge height during construction.
Stretching almost five miles from the Newtown Turnpike Bridge in Westport to just past the Congress Street Bridge in Fairfield, the project — the seventh in a series of eight covering all 37.5 miles of the Merritt — is creating 4-foot reinforced grass shoulders on both sides of the parkway, replacing existing guiderail with steel-backed timber railing, and installing a slip-lined concrete curb and gutter system along the median for improved drainage.
The $57 million project that began in 2017 is about $5 million over budget.
Much to the relief of drivers, work is expected to be completed by Labor Day.

Development agreement outlined for New Haven’s $100M life-sciences incubator
Michael C. Bingham
he city has reached a tentative development agreement that would pave the way for a transformative $100 million life-sciences incubator in the heart of downtown New Haven.
Developer Winstanley Enterprises LLC of Concord, Mass. has proposed to build 500,000 square feet of laboratory and life-sciences incubation space at a new address: 101 College Street.
“We been in conversations with [Winstanley principal] Carter Winstanley and the state for some time, and given everything that’s going on with COVID-19, we’re very grateful that the state and Carter are willing to move forward with this project,” said Mayor Justin Elicker Monday afternoon.
The 101 College Street project was first reported in January. That was before the coronavirus pandemic hit, dealing a body blow to economic-development projects in Connecticut and around the world.
The development agreement, which was presented to the city’s Board of Alders Monday night, outlines construction of the large-scale private development and the public infrastructure needed to make the project possible. The board accepted the document for review and further discussion.
“It’s important that we get this project rolling because it takes a long time to get things approved,” Elicker explained. “But we’re grateful to the other parties for continuing to willing to move forward — even with some of the uncertainty that exists right now.”
The project, to be built over the existing Rt. 34 connector opposite 100 College Street, would include approximately 100,000 square feet of incubator space for life-sciences enterprises that have advanced beyond the startup stage and have begun to hire workers who need more laboratory and office space to grow their companies.
Much of the remainder of the space in the building would be conventional office and meeting space for the Yale medical school and a “mature” life-sciences tenant or tenants.
Construction could begin as early as this summer if various permits, land transfers and easements can be granted and if the coronavirus pandemic does not cause additional delays. Winstanley says construction would take approximately two years.
The incubator would be managed by a third-party operator, which in addition to serving as a leasing agent and property manager would provide services such as educational programming and regular networking opportunities both to resident companies and individual researchers and potential employees.
Three’s company
The developer envisions three principal tenants in the new building: one or more “mature” life and bioscience companies; the Yale School of Medicine; and an incubator supporting technology transfer transfer and nascent (presumably life sciences-related) businesses in need of early support services.
According to the development agreement, the project’s “strategic location is near the York Street Campus of Yale-New Haven Health System and the Yale School of Medicine. Development in this area will continue to solidify New Haven's global standing and prominence in key economic sectors such as the life sciences, biotechnology, health-care technologies and the neurosciences.”
The 101 College Street project is projected to create a “substantial” number of construction jobs and, when completed, some 700 to 1,000 permanent jobs at all skill levels. The document submitted to the Board of Alders projects the creation of more than 3,000 jobs throughout the region’s economy that would generate more than $250 million in wages. The Connecticut Economic Resource Center calculates that each job in the bioscience sector supports an additional 2.9 jobs throughout the larger economy.
As part of the agreement, Winstanley has agreed to contribute between $400,000 and $500,000 to Together, We Grow, a new city-created fund that supports a “wide-ranging inclusive growth agenda” including improved access to jobs for underserved communities.

After a year of construction, bridge reopens in Woodbury
WOODBURY — The new Hazel Plain Road bridge opened to traffic Friday afternoon after a year of construction.
Traffic has been detoured around the bridge since April 2019.
The two-way span over Sprain Brook replaces a 100-year-old, one-way wooden bridge that the state Department of Transportation deemed to be in poor condition.
The 22-foot wide bridge will provide travel in both directions. It has an estimated life span of 75 years, Public Works Director Rich Lamothe said. The new 37-foot-long bridge was built for $2 million, 20% of which is the town’s expense.
Lamothe said the cost to the town is $400,000, which is being covered by $935,000 originally bonded for a project on Brushy Hill Road that never started.
Lamothe said there had been talk of realigning the roadway near the bridge to improve sight lines with Route 47. That plan has been put on hold.
The DOT says an average of 442 cars cross the bridge each day.
Hazel Plain Bridge is the first full bridge replacement in Woodbury since the late 1980s when Jack’s Bridge and Minortown Bridge were rebuilt, Lamothe said.
The bridge work was done by Schultz Corporation of Terryville and design work by WMC Consulting Engineers of Newington.
Lamothe said the federal government will reimburse the town for 80% of the cost through its bridge replacement grant program.