CT Construction Digest Tuesday June 30, 2020
- CONVENE INFORMATIONAL HEARING
- REMARKS BY THE CHAIRS AND RANKING MEMBERS
- Joseph Giulietti, Commissioner, DOT
- Mark Rolfe, Deputy Commissioner and Chief Engineer, DOT
- Garrett Eucalitto, Deputy Commissioner, DOT
- Scott Hill, Bureau Chief - Engineering and Construction, DOT
- Bob Card, Bureau Chief - Finance and Administration, DOT
- Paul Rizzo, Bureau Chief - Highway Operations, DOT
- Rich Andreski, Bureau Chief - Public Transportation, DOT
- Tom Maziarz, Bureau Chief - Policy & Planning, DOT
- Jackie Primeau, Chief of Staff, DOT
- Gary Pescosolido, Finance and Administration, DOT
- Lori Kiniry, Finance and Administration, DOT
- Darren Meyers, Finance and Administration, DOT
- Maureen Kent, Finance and Administration, DOT
- Alicia Leite, Legislative Liaison, DOT
- Pam Sucato, Director of Government Relations and Policy Coordination, DOT
Eversource Gas will be paving, repairing trenches
BRISTOL – Eversource Gas will be paving to repair their trenches on Ronzo Road starting this week and then move on to pave Birch Street during the week of July 6.
Birch Street will have some temporary closures, because they will be doing an entire lane between Redstone Hill and Pine Street. Ronzo Road, which is wide enough, will be open during paving.
“We also want to remind people that there may be changes to the schedule due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu.
Zoppo-Sassu also advised residents to maintain a safe speed when driving in the vicinity to ensure the safety of the workers and other drivers.
While it is an Eversource project, the city will be monitoring the work. Questions or concerns about the project can be directed to the Public Works Engineering Division at 860-584-6125.
The Public Works Department has released its schedule for the 2020 summer paving program which will be completed in two phases.
“The initial phase consists of milling off the existing bituminous pavement of the road. The second phase consists of installing a new bituminous roadway surface and will start shortly after the first phase,” said City Engineer Nancy Levesque. “Once construction is complete, the city will repair any affected driveway aprons,” Levesque said.
The paving program will begin Monday, July 6. As part of the program, the following streets will be milled and then resurfaced:
Brewster Road (Queen Street to Rotary), Magnolia Avenue, Geary Avenue, Vanderbilt Road, Round Hill Road, Rogers Road, Main Street (South Street to Memorial Boulevard), Redstone Street, Tulip Street (Park Street to Divinity Street), Willow Brook Road.
“There may be minor traffic delays during construction, however roads will remain open for mail delivery, emergency vehicles, and local traffic at all times,” said Zoppo-Sassu. “Temporary ‘No Parking’ signs will be posted as needed during construction.”
A Marshall Plan for infrastructure can boost New England’s economy
James T. Brett
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted not only the physical health of almost 2 million Americans, but also the economic well-being of our region and nation.
Congress has enacted several massive legislative packages to help tackle coronavirus, assist struggling businesses and reinvigorate the economy. Still, more must be done.
One bold step that Congress could take to spur economic growth already has support from Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill as well as the White House: a major federal infrastructure investment package, which would provide tremendous benefits to the nation and our region.
As Washington considers such an investment, it is important that our elected officials take a broad view of what constitutes infrastructure. Traditionally, when we talk about infrastructure, the first thing that comes to mind is our transportation infrastructure, which all would agree needs repairs and modernization.
Besides addressing road needs, years of mass transit maintenance backlogs require a substantial investment. Bolstering transit throughout our region will ensure greater access for commuters, decrease congestion and improve air quality. This holds true for Amtrak, particularly the Northeast Corridor, which must be upgraded.
Moreover, Congress should give serious thought to funding regional rail expansion to better connect our region and spark economic development beyond traditional hub centers. We appreciate that the recent House bill aims to tackle these surface transportation priorities.
Another traditional infrastructure mode is air travel, which will no doubt rebound and even hit new heights, necessitating airport upgrades and new construction to meet increased passenger loads. Similarly, growth in trade will dictate a need for on-shore facility capabilities and channels that can accommodate the vessels bringing goods to and from our ports.
Federal investments for physical and technological infrastructure on higher education campuses as well as for elementary and secondary schools will ensure a modern education system that can accommodate all students and prepare them for the jobs of the future.
Water infrastructure systems demand constant attention, whether for drinking water or wastewater treatment facilities. Besides the need to meet new requirements for our growing region, aging systems — some approaching or surpassing a century old — need replacing as well.
Energy reliability is critical to our economy and for our overall way of life, and Washington must pursue modernization investments that will enable the grid to safely and reliably accommodate new clean energy resources that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Further, support for America’s research infrastructure is necessary to cement our overall research capabilities and boost our competitiveness for years to come.
Also, whether it’s new construction or necessary upgrades, climate resiliency and cybersecurity protections must be fundamental additions to infrastructure components to guarantee the integrity of our investments.
Congress and the White House have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact a bipartisan infrastructure plan that will create jobs, boost the economy and meet existing and anticipated infrastructure needs. Many have dubbed such an effort as a “Marshall Plan for Infrastructure” and that is clearly what the United States can and should accomplish in the wake of this pandemic.
Amid ‘lightning-in-a-bottle’ developments, East Windsor eyes 138 acres of historic farmland for future growth
There are a few types of developments that don’t come along often or ever for most towns, but East Windsor has two of them in the works.
The first — a joint casino proposed by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes — has been slowly plodding along through zoning entanglements, and will ultimately need further legislative approval.
The second, first reported this month by the Hartford Business Journal, is a 485-acre solar array planned on old gravel pits that would be the largest solar installation in the Northeastern United States. It still needs state Siting Council approval.
Combined, the two projects could generate an estimated $6 million a year in new local property taxes, an 18% increase over the town’s 2019 collections.
“Those lightning-in-a-bottle moments don’t come along very often,” said First Selectman Jason Bowsza. “You can’t sit back and wait for them.”
As he waits for further movement on the casino and solar projects, Bowsza said the town is pursuing other smaller and medium-scale developments when they make sense.
One target is a stretch of bucolic land on North Road/Route 140 that’s now for sale, after its longtime owner died last summer.
[Read more: HBJ examines developments in CT towns, cities]
East Windsor attorney Walter Bass Jr. had many plans over the years for 138 acres of historic farmland that surrounded his family home and spanned to the west on the far side of North Road, where his office was also located, in nearby Bassdale Plaza, which was developed by his father, the late Walter Bass Sr.
Now his family, led by daughter Caroline Bass, a 2004 UConn alum who has since moved to New York City and made a name for herself in the residential real estate market there, has put the five parcels on the market for $2.5 million (the purchase price could be less, if a buyer combines some of them in one deal).
Since listing the land in January through Berkshire Hathaway New England Properties, Bass said she has been in close contact with Bowsza, a high school classmate who is eager to do what he can to facilitate further growth of the town’s commercial tax base.
“It’s prime real estate,” Bowsza said of the parcels, which are less than two miles from I-91 and about 10 minutes from Bradley International Airport.
Bowsza said the North Road parcels are zoned for commercial use and could be a good fit for mid-to-upscale retail, medical offices or luxury apartments.
“The market in general is not excited right now about office space, and with COVID-19 I think you will see more of that,” he said.
Bass said the listings have drawn a few serious nibbles. One party was interested in a solar development, while another was interested in the approved condo project that fronts nearby Winkler Road. The local permit expired last year, but there’s potential for someone to renew it, possibly with a denser layout and more units, since recent zoning changes would allow for it.
Caroline Bass said she was a bit surprised to see interest in the property during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she said has produced plenty of opportunistic offers in her own broker work in the city.
“In New York my buyers and sellers are getting low-ball offers left and right because they assume everybody is distressed,” she said.
She said the East Windsor tract’s location and price are both attractive, which could explain it.
Bowsza said he hopes the town is on the verge of a development wave. Besides the casino and solar projects, and the potential the Bass land presents, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union recently wrapped construction on a 25,000-square-foot training and office facility on Craftsman Road East, while construction of a 55-plus age-restricted, 122-unit apartment community called Water Mill Landing — developed by realty firm Calamar — remains ongoing.
There’s been lots of development in adjacent Enfield and South Windsor over the last decade or two, and now Bowsza hopes it’s East Windsor’s turn.