Make it bigger:


Winsted reveals plans for new bridge over Still RiverLeslie HutchisonWINSTED — Construction of a new span over the Still River could begin as early as April, planning documents show.The town and the state Department of Transportation will each pay for 50 percent of the project, estimated to be approximately $550,000 , according to project engineers from Cardinal Engineering Associates of Meriden.The Lanson Road Bridge is considered “in poor structural condition, with crumbling concrete headwalls,” town reports show. The bridge is paved with gravel, as is the road, which is classified by the state as a local rural road.The town’s Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission took up the project application as new business at its Wednesday meeting. The document states that the project covers the “Replacement of Structurally Inadequate Multiple-Pipe Culvert with Single-Cell Reinforced Concrete Box Culvert.”A public hearing on the project will be held by the wetlands commission on Feb. 20, said Pamela Colombie, land use assistant for the Planning and Community Development Department.The project application states that the lack of structural integrity of the span is further stressed by trucks from nearby USA Hauling and Recycling Inc. The trucks use the bridge to travel to the company’s location at 185 Torrington Road.Information from USA Hauling on the number of trips the trucks make each day was not available. An employee, who asked not to be named, wondered how long the bridge would be closed and how much further the trucks would have to drive to go around the construction.The construction is expected to take four to six months, project engineers said.The Lanson Drive Bridge is the trailhead for Sue Grossman Greenway that stretches nearly three miles to Torrington.The Lanson Drive Bridge project is the latest in a number of other bridge and street projects under way in WinstedA rehabilitation project on Sucker Brook Road , with a cost of approximately $1.025 million, is also expected to start this year. The project will be paid for through a federal/local grant with 80 percent of the cost supported by federal funds with the balance to be paid by the city. 01/18/2019

No tolls if you live within 10 miles? It’s possibleJordan FensterShould you pay a highway toll if the gantry is near your house?Sen. Will Haskell, D-Westport, floated an idea during an interview Thursday that he said would put the burden of tolls on the backs of trucking companies and non-resident drivers.In Haskell’s mind, a driver wouldn’t have to pay a toll if the gantry is within, for example, 10 miles of where an E-ZPass is registered.“If you’re using 95 as a local road to get to stop and shop you shouldn’t have to pay,” Haskell said.He did not specify if the distance would be calculated as road miles or concentric circles around the gantries.Highway tolls haven’t been a thing in Connecticut since 1989. But Gov. Ned Lamont campaigned on limited tolling and a state study released in November said as much as $1 billion may be left on the table as long as there are no tolls.Lamont visited the state Department of Transportation headquarters on the Berlin Turnpike Thurs

Amid Looming Tolls Debate, Transportation Funding Projected to GrowMarc E. FitchAs some legislative leaders call for tolls on Connecticut’s highways, new revenue estimates from the state show transportation funding is expected to increase by $310 million by 2023.The Office of Fiscal Analysis and the Office of Policy and Management released their consensus revenue estimates yesterday showing Connecticut may not only take in more tax revenue than anticipated, but that the state’s Special Transportation Fund will also bring in more money to fund infrastructure projects.According to OFA, revenue to the STF is expected to increase from $1.68 billion this year to $1.99 billion by 2022.The growth comes largely from anticipated transfers of sales tax revenue into the STF and from growth in revenue from the oil company gross receipts tax.Revenue from the state’s gasoline tax is expected to remain slightly lower, taking in $501 million per year.But the revenue increases are not set in stone, even with the transportation lock box passed by voters in the November 2018 election, which is meant to secure STF funding from “raids” by lawmakers.That’s because, unlike the gasoline and oil company tax, the sales tax revenue owed to the STF is transferred from the General Fund and not protected by the lock box.As Connecticut faces budget deficits, lawmakers can withhold part or all of the sales tax meant to fund transportation and repair Connecticut’s roads and bridges.It wouldn’t be the first time lawmakers held part of the sales tax back from the state’s transportation fund.In 2016, the STF was scheduled to receive $146.5 million in sales tax transfers but instead only received $109 million.Again, in 2017, the STF was meant to receive $238.4 million but received only $188 million.Since 2010, the legislature has “diverted” hundreds of millions in transportation funding that would have been transferred from the General Fund to the STF to help deal with budget deficits.Those diversions usually occurred when the state received higher than expected revenue from the oil company tax.The STF may also face increasing expenses from past borrowing and growth in fringe benefit costs for Department of Transportation employees. The growing cost of fringe benefits is related to the state's unfunded pension liabilities which are driving up labor costs.Debt service for the STF currently takes up 40 percent of STF funding, but the largest growth in transportation expenditures has been for public transportation and fringe benefit costs.Connecticut faces projected deficits for the next four years, at least. The revenue projections estimate that deficit may be smaller than anticipated, although much of the increased revenue will be transferred to the state’s Rainy Day Fund because of Connecticut’s new volatility cap.Gov. Ned Lamont has so far indicated he would only be willing to support tolls on trucks, which would bring in an estimated $200 million per year, but that proposal could face major hurdles as a federal court case challenging Rhode Island’s truck-only tolls remains undecided.Former Gov. Dannel Malloy called for both an increase to the gasoline tax and tolls for all drivers on Connecticut’s highways. His recommendations were echoed by Lamont’s Transportation Advisory Committee when the group released its recommendations in December.Democratic Party leaders who now control both the House and Senate have indicated they support tolling both cars and trucks, which would bring in an estimated $1.086 billion per year to the state.Republican leaders in the House and Senate have said the state does not need tolls to meet its transportation needs and last year's bipartisan budget agreement "allowed us to contribute a historic amount of funding to transportation." 01/17/2019

DOT to replace Brookfield repair shopJim ShayBROOKFIELD — The state Department of Transportation wants to replace what it calls a “functionally obsolete” repair facility on Federal Road. DOT’s Office of Engineering is developing plans to build a new repair facility on the site of the existing repair facility at the intersection of routes 7 and 202.The project involves building a 15,000-square-foot bay area and a 6,000-square-foot office area, and will include operational sections for vehicle repair, a materials storage stockroom, private office areas and supporting office spaces.The existing repair facility will be converted to cold storage, DOT said in a news release.Other improvements will include removal of a cold storage building, motor fuel island and underground tanks, installation of motor fuel above-ground storage tanks, motor fuel island, new pavement where necessary, site drainage system improvements and connection to utilities.The final design plans are expected to be finished in September.“If there is adequate interest, an informational meeting will be conducted. At this time, it is not anticipated that a formal public hearing will be necessary,” DOT said in a release.Anyone interested in receiving information on this project may do so by contacting Mr. Michael J. Strong, project manager at 860-594-3306 or by email at Please refer to the Brookfield repair facility.Connecticut Water honored for community service, construction safetyCLINTON — The Connecticut Construction Industry Association has awarded its prestigious Community Service and Safety awards to Connecticut Water.The award recognizes the company’s emergency potable water program for private well owners, according to a press release. Through the program, Connecticut Water and its employees make potable water available free of charge to private well owners when there are extended power outages in affected nearby communities. Most private well owners have no water when they have no power, the release said.We are proud to be recognized by CCIA for our emergency potable water program, but I am even more proud of our people who saw the need to create this program in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in 2011. Since then, we have provided this service during extended power outages across the state, most recently this spring in the communities of Southbury and Oxford,” Craig Patla, Connecticut Water’s vice president of service delivery said in a prepared statement.                                 “Our program provides life-sustaining clean drinking water for private well owners, their families, pets and livestock, as well as for sanitation and hygiene needs,” he added.Connecticut Water’s critical facilities are all equipped with backup generators, and their customers have very rarely had their water service interrupted when the company experienced by power outages, Patla said.“Getting a community service award takes an extra effort on behalf of a business to really get out there in their community and make a difference. We think the potable water system that Connecticut Water has set up is just a perfect example of what everybody should be doing to contribute to their communities and well-being of everyone around them,” said Donald Schubert, company president.The association also recognized Connecticut Water with its Safety Recognition Award for the 15th consecutive year, the release said. Companies recognized have demonstrated solid construction safety and health programs.The organization evaluated Connecticut Water in 17 safety categories, including management involvement, employee training, safety hazard analysis, noncompliance and correction of violations.Connecticut Water, Avon Water and Heritage Village Water serve more than 350,000 people in 59 towns in Connecticut. For information, visit 01/16/2019

Stonington approves phases two and three for Perkins FarmJoe Wojtas  Mystic — The Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday approved phases two and three of the Perkins Farm development, which is projected to become the most expensive project in the town’s history.The commission approved plans by developer David Lattizori for 50 townhouse condominiums and a 47,625-square-foot, three-story medical office building that will be built by Hartford Healthcare.The commission had previously approved a 121-unit apartment complex, which is now under construction on the 70-acre site off Jerry Browne Road across from the StoneRidge retirement community.The project's master plan calls for a total of 100,000 square feet of medical and research space in phase three and Lattizori has said that another medical building is a possibility for the site. Phase three is expected to create hundreds of permanent, well-paying jobs.Lattizori’s family had tried for almost 20 years t