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CT Construction Digest Friday September 13, 2019

Final paving on Todd Road in Wolcott will mean lane closures, delays
MARTHA SHANAHAN
WOLCOTT – Todd Road, a two-mile thoroughfare that connects two major streets in town, has been under construction for months.
But town drivers can see the light at the end of the tunnel: the final paving phase will begin Monday.
The construction will cause one final week of delays and closures while J. Iapaluccio, the Brookfield contractor hired for the project, paves a final layer on the road to finish off the four-month project that began in June.
Iapaluccio was hired with a $2.2-million grant from the state’s Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program to rebuild the roadway, improve sight lines and replace or upgrade catch basins. They also moved and replaces utility poles and widened the road in some areas.
The final paving phase was scheduled to begin Friday but the threat of rain delayed it until Monday, said Mayor Thomas G. Dunn. The paving is expected to take about a week, he said.
Town officials are encouraging people to avoid driving on Todd Road when the paving begins. Iapaluccio and Wolcott police will be intermittently closing lanes while they pave a final time, which Dunn said could cause delays, lane closures, and detours.
Iapaluccio has been coordinating with All-Star Transportation to ensure that the paving won’t interfere with bus routes to and from Tyrrell Middle School and the Frisbie Elementary School, both on Todd Road.
“They’ll try to wait until after the buses go by and then pave,” Dunn said.
The end of the project can’t come soon enough for some town residents.
Owen Glendening said the weeks-long phase while Todd Road was unpaved left his car’s year-old tires nearly bald.
“It’s like I’ve had them for four or five years,” he said.
Todd Road is a crucial part of his route to work in Cheshire, he said, and circumventing the road would have added too much time to his commute. The day Iapaluccio paved a first layer of the road this summer brought some relief, he said.
“I was dreading the drive like I usually do, and I said ‘thank God, there’s pavement.”
Lee Caron said he avoided driving on Todd Road almost all summer.
“I’ll be grateful when it’s over with, even though I’m used it at this point,” he said. “It slowed things down a lot.”
Dunn said the town’s police department will be on scene to help route traffic around the construction and will be patrolling for speeding on the road once the project is finished.
“They can’t be out there 24/7, but we’ll be out there as much as we can,” he said.

72-unit Berlin Turnpike apartment, retail development OK’d
Gregory Seay
A Connecticut auto dealer’s latest multimillion-dollar plan for apartments and more retail along Berlin’s prime commercial corridor has been approved -- the first under the town’s new “floating zone’’ ordinance.
Executive Auto Group CEO John Orsini won town planners’ approval Sept. 5 to develop a 72-unit apartment community and adjoining 18,000-square-foot mixed-use building at 196 Berlin Turnpike, near Deming Road. The development estimate is $10 million to $12 million.
Orsini’s latest apartment-retail project would be located on acreage one block north of the 8-acre Berlin Turnpike Acura dealership-retail site he developed in 2017.
Berlin’s planning and zoning commission, after extensive study and public comment, approved the new floating zone May 2, town records show.
Orsini has done commercial, residential and industrial development in Berlin and elsewhere in Connecticut.
In 2016, Orsini acquired 8 acres at the intersection of Deming Road and the turnpike, adjacent to CVS, on which he built a 29,000-square-foot showroom-service center to which he relocated Acura of Berlin. Orsini also erected an 18,000-square-foot retail plaza adjoining the dealership.
Executive Auto Group has more than a dozen dealerships, including Acura of Berlin, covering 14 automotive marques, according to its homepage.

Aquarion lists water infrastructure work in Shelton
Aquarion Water Co. announced on Thursday, Sept. 12, the launch of an infrastructure project in Shelton.
The project, located at the company’s Trap Falls Treatment Plant property on Huntington Street, is designed to increase fire flow protection in the White Hills and Nichols areas of town through the installation of a new water booster pump station with higher capacity, redundant pumps.
Aquarion will install the new water booster station with a natural gas standby generator, new and relocated site utilities, and other infrastructure upgrades. Initial site preparation and excavation for the project began in mid-Juneand the new pump station is expected to be completed in September 2020. Customers are not expected to be impacted during construction of the new pump station.“The new Trap Falls pump station will be an important infrastructure improvement for Aquarion as we continue to reliably deliver safe, clean, water to our customers,” said Daniel Lawrence, Aquarion's director of engineering and planning.Oxford-based Kovacs Construction Corp. will be serving as the contractor for the Trap Falls water booster pump station project.

Joe Courtney: New submarine facility will define Connecticut’s economy
Joe Courtney
On Friday, a ceremonial groundbreaking will represent the start of construction of a facility that will help define the economy of Connecticut and southern New England for decades to come.
The $800 million production facility for the Columbia-class submarine program is a generational enterprise that has and will employ thousands of trades workers, engineers, designers and planners to replace a critical fleet of aging Ohio-class submarines that have been on patrol for over 40 years. The new submarines are the U.S. Navy’s top acquisition priority, and on-time delivery is a vital part of our nuclear deterrent force that has been on silent patrol since the 1960s.
On Friday morning, the first ringing strike of the shovel should be a signal to all who doubt the future of America’s manufacturing workforce and Connecticut’s role in it: America is investing in bold new technologies right here in Connecticut, and it’s an investment that will be felt in machine shops and supplier companies throughout the region.
The new facility has to be built because the new submarines are immense. They are 2 1/2 times the size of Virginia-class submarines presently being built at that shipyard and the largest submarine ever to be built by the United States, so a larger and safer structure is required to assemble the massive modular pieces that modern shipbuilding employs.

The contract for its construction will ensure that only Connecticut and Rhode Island building trades workers will be employed at the project. Additionally, all of the permits have been approved to make sure this will be a clean project that preserves the water quality of the Thames River.
Back in 2007, the warning signals began to light up that the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines were running out of hull life and reactor life in the coming years, and there was a need to catalyze planning and design of their replacement. When I first came to Congress that year, however, I was stunned to learn that the Navy and Electric Boat were not actively designing the new sea-based deterrent. It was the first time in fifty years that the next class of submarine was not under active design.
 
As a freshman member of the seapower and projection forces subcommittee, I worked with my colleagues to get the first $8 million down payment on the program. Funding for Columbia has steadily grown since then, and it’s done so through multiple Congresses and administrations — a sign of the enduring support for the Columbia program across party lines. The program’s strong investment will continue with $9.1 billion of combined procurement and research and development funding over the next five years, and more than $26 billion through the remainder of the program.
As the plans for Columbia have developed, the engineering workforce at Electric Boat has grown, filling up the old Pfizer building with 4,000 new employees who have been intently focused on getting the new design right, and completed on time.
What’s more impressive is the fact that many of those new hires are millennials. Over 50 percent of EB’s workforce today are millennials, and they’ve made over 1,000 hires directly from the Eastern Connecticut manufacturing pipeline — a hiring trend we can expect to continue while EB works to fill the additional 1,400 skilled trade and support positions that will be needed at this new facility.
The combined size of EB’s Connecticut and Rhode Island shipyards will grow from 17,000 employees to over 20,000 as Columbia ramps up.
 
This project isn’t just good news for Groton and Electric Boat. New jobs will help attract even more young people to the manufacturing pipeline and to Connecticut’s community colleges, and they will create fresh opportunities for new business among the hundreds of supplier firms and machine shops in the region that help make these submarines possible.
In Rhode Island, the first production work began in 2016 on the first modular components of Columbia. This Friday’s groundbreaking in eastern Connecticut is another milestone in this project, which will continue through 2042 for vessels that will be at sea until the 2080s.
This project will change the face of the shipyard in Groton, and its impact will be felt throughout our state. For the naysayers, the turning of the earth this Friday will powerfully demonstrate the reanimation of our state’s contribution to high standards of excellence and our national security for years to come.
Democrat Joe Courtney represents Connecticut’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives and is the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces.

60-unit apartment proposal wins zoning approval in Torrington
BRUNO MATARAZZO JR.
TORRINGTON – The city Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a plan to build a 60-unit apartment building on Franklin Street.
The next step in the approval process is a vote by the City Council on a memorandum of understanding with the developer. The race for city approval comes as Pennrose, the city’s preferred developer for the city-owned site, looks to submit its application to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority by a November deadline. A decision would come next spring.
Pennrose, based in Philadelphia, has done previous work in the state, including a senior housing complex in New Britain and a mixed-use development in Meriden. The company also is working on a project in Hartford.
The Torrington complex would have one- to three-bedroom apartments. The one-bedroom units will be 677 square feet, two-bedrooms 909 square feet and three-bedrooms 1,276 square feet. Seven of the apartments will be handicapped-accessible. Of the 60 apartments, 75%, or 45, will be “affordable” and 15 will be market rate, according to the developers.
The property is in the incentive housing overlay district downtown. To meet the city’s incentive housing development threshold, 20% of the apartments must be affordable for a period of at least 30 years. “Affordable” isn’t considered Section 8 housing; rather, it’s reserved for households earning at or below 80% of the area median income.
“People are still paying rent, it’s just capped based on what the HUD-defined area median income is,” Pennrose associate developer Karmen Cheung said, referring to the federal Housing and Urban Development agency.
For Torrington, the HUD-defined area median income is based on Litchfield County. Currently, the area median income for a two-person household in the county is $80,720, City Planner Martin Connor noted. Eighty percent of that income is $64,576.
For the state funding Pennrose will be applying for, it requires deeper affordability restrictions.
Cheung said a majority of the units will be for people earning between $35,000 to $70,000 a year. Those earning $15 an hour and making about $30,000 a year would not meet the minimum income requirements, Cheung said.
“We wouldn’t set someone up for failure like that,” Cheung said. “If they’re not earning enough to pay rent, we would not take them in as a tenant.”
When PZC member Greg Perosino asked why so many units would be affordable, Cheung said state funding is competitive and having more affordable units helps the project score higher. Funding from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority would cover 80% of the construction costs. Pennrose has been successful every year it applied for funding with the authority.
If approved for financing, Cheung said she hopes to prepare the project for groundbreaking in the fall of 2020, with completion 14 months later.
Mayor Elinor C. Carbone reminded the commission that the former Torrington Manufacturing Co. is a brownfields site.
In 2014, the city undertook some cleanup of the property with funding from the EPA. Later, the state Department of Economic and Community Development awarded the city $1 million for more cleanup of the site based on previous work. By taking the $1 million, the state understood the city’s goal would be mixed-use development and land-use restrictions to accommodate the Naugatuck River Greenway.
“We have set this stage for all of this development,” Carbone said. “I’m proud of what they (Pennrose) presented.”

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