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CT Construction Digest Friday October 25, 2019

Republican lawmakers keeping open mind on Lamont’s revised transportation plan
Julia Bergman
Local Republican lawmakers say they are open to Gov. Ned Lamont's proposal to use low-interest federal loans to partly fund a 10-year, $18 billion transportation plan he intends to unveil soon.
But they, and Democratic lawmakers in the region, say more details are needed about the funding mechanism and the plan in general.
Lamont is revising his transportation plan from earlier in the year, which received criticism from Republicans and some Democrats due in large part to a proposal to install 50-plus toll gantries on major highways across the state.
Details on the reworked proposal, which is being called "CT 2030," are still scant but at recent  appearances Lamont has indicated it will likely contain a scaled-back tolling proposal with tolls in "strategic areas" while taking advantage of below market federal financing available from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
"Leveraging additional federal dollars is an important piece of the puzzle," said Rep. Devin Carney, R-Old Lyme. "Connecticut sends a lot of money to the federal government and we don't always get a lot back."
Carney, who attended a briefing by Lamont's chief of staff on the federal financing, said he "tentatively" supports that approach as a way to pay for some transportation improvements.
"That piece of it made a lot of sense from what I heard from his chief of staff," he said.
Carney opposed Lamont's 50-plus gantry tolling proposal and said he is waiting on details on the scaled-back version.
"It has to be a good deal for Connecticut residents and really has to focus on out-of-state drivers," he said.
As for the aspects of the plan that would have direct impact on southeastern Connecticut, Carney said he expects improvements to the Gold Star Bridge to be among the list of projects presented as part of the transportation package. He said he'd like the package to include a proposal to widen portions of Interstate 95.
Tony Sheridan, president and CEO of the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, said widening I-95 to a minimum of three lanes from Branford to the Rhode Island border is the chamber's top priority.
The group's second priority is extending Shore Line East rail service to Westerly. Right now, trains run from New Haven to New London. Sheridan said Lamont told him during a previous discussion that he would be "taking a hard look" at the train expansion.
Sheridan said he expects to speak with the Lamont administration in the coming days about the revised proposal.
While Republicans and Democrats in Connecticut agree the state's transportation infrastructure needs upgrading, the issue has always been how to pay for it.
Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, pointed to the tolls-free transportation plan released by Republicans earlier this year, which proposed reserving about $700 million annually in state general obligation bonds for transportation projects and leveraging about $750 million per year in federal reimbursements.
Formica said the federal loan proposal by Lamont "should be looked at," and that he was keeping an open mind about the governor's reworked proposal. He called for "open doors, lots of conversations, collaboration and compromise."
Rep. Kathleen McCarty, R-Waterford, echoed Formica's sentiments, saying that from what she's heard so far, the proposal sounds better than what was previously presented, but that she needs more details.
"There needs to be a thorough discussion," she said.

Offshore Wind Project: Powering Connecticut’s Future With Bridgeport As Host City
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Declaring “This is our chance to re-invent Bridgeport and the whole region” a new video highlights the economic benefits of Park City Wind, a proposed offshore wind project under consideration by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) in response to its clean-energy solicitation that could generate upwards of $1.6 billion in direct economic benefits and create as many as 12,000 direct and indirect job across Connecticut. The project also proposes to save Connecticut ratepayers up to $1.1 billion in energy costs, while delivering a reliable source of fixed price, low cost renewable energy. Bridgeport would serve as the host city.
For more on the project see here
The proposal to the state has been advanced by Massachusetts-based Vineyard Wind who will partner with McAllister Towing and Transportation Company, operators of the city’s ferry service, to redevelop Barnum Landing, an underutilized 18.3-acre waterfront industrial property on Seaview Avenue in the East End.
A renovated Barnum Landing property will host hundreds of local workers hired to do critical foundation transition piece steel fabrication and final outfitting, according to Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Thaaning Pedersen who adds the labor-intensive work will create new, good-paying union jobs and build valuable Connecticut-based offshore wind capabilities along with a trained workforce prepared for future offshore wind projects.
“Park City Wind is a tremendous opportunity to revitalize Bridgeport by creating thousands of good paying jobs with good benefits in both the wind industry and throughout the local supply chain,” says Pedersen. “By selecting our project, the state will help make offshore wind a statewide industry, similar to aerospace, and tap into the innovative roots that have defined Connecticut for generations.
“Our commitment to Connecticut is significant. We see a future with thriving ports in both New London and Bridgeport and manufacturers in every corner of the state working to literally lift this industry off the ground in the US.  If Park City Wind is selected, the jobs and economic opportunities created by this project will be available in the region for decades to come.”
DEEP is expected to issue a decision about proposals before the agency in November.
Pedersen adds Bridgeport will be home to Park City Wind’s operations and maintenance hub for the life of the project bringing many long-term jobs to Bridgeport and generate direct expenditures worth several hundreds of millions of dollars.
“McAllister Towing and The Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company have been a part of Bridgeport’s maritime community for many, many years,” says Buckley McAllister, President of the companies. “We believe that the addition of a thriving offshore wind industry, with its beating heart at the center of Bridgeport Harbor, will lead to jobs and economic benefits for generations to come.  We wholeheartedly support the Park City Wind project and look forward to many years of partnership with Vineyard Wind.”
In the video above city stakeholders declare abandoned Bridgeport lots will be transformed into high-tech manufacturing and state-of-the-art operations, delivering clean low-cost energy to homes and businesses with parts and services coming from local business, investing in technical education for local young people to be prepared for those jobs.
“It’s a game-changer for this whole area.”

Old Lyme sewer project receives final permission from East Lyme
Mary Biekert
East Lyme — After years of planning and deliberating, three Old Lyme beach communities are moving forward on long-held plans to bring a shared sewer system into their neighborhoods after gaining the final permission needed from East Lyme to do so.
The East Lyme Inland Wetland Agency on Monday night unanimously approved, with some stipulations, the three communities to connect a sewer line they are building into the East Lyme sewer system.
The line will run from their neighborhoods abutting Long Island Sound in Old Lyme, along Route 156 and into East Lyme over the Four Mile River, connecting to East Lyme's system in front of The Divine Wine Emporium on Route 156. From there, sewer waste will be sent through existing pipes extending from East Lyme, through Waterford and into New London for treatment.
The three associations, which include Miami Beach Association, Old Lyme Shores Beach Association and Old Colony Beach Association — all of which are chartered beach neighborhoods and are considered separate municipalities from the town — have been planning their own sewer project for years now after the state mandated upgrades to resolve groundwater pollution.
Monday’s approval, however, also represents a necessary step needed for the town of Old Lyme to sewer its Sound View neighborhood, which is nestled between Old Colony Beach and Miami Beach associations. Old Lyme voters recently authorized the town to start bonding for its own project at an August referendum.
The two projects are set to eventually combine, with plans to share the force main and sewer line running down Route 156.
The town of Old Lyme and the associations are presently working out a cost-sharing agreement to pay for the estimated $5 million needed to build the pump station and force main. Plans for the shared pump station on Portland Avenue in the Sound View neighborhood were also recently presented at an Old Lyme Zoning Commission meeting.
Besides determining where removed road and fill would be located while construction is ongoing, the East Lyme Agency easily determined that the project was suitable to move forward at its meeting Monday night. Plans seeking permission for that part of the project were brought forward to the agency in late August by Old Colony Beach Association’s Water Pollution Control Authority Chair Frank Noe, on behalf of the three associations.
The three beach associations were required to gain permission from the East Lyme Agency because construction for the sewer line will take place within 100 feet of the Four Mile River.
The sewer line will not go through the Four Mile River or under it, but will “be built within the pavement of the bridge extending over the river,” according to plans presented to the agency by engineer James Otis of Manchester's Fuss & O’Neill — the engineering firm contracted by the three beach associations to design the project.
As part of its approval, agency members stipulated that the applicant must file a $5,000 erosion and sedimentation bond with the agency before construction starts. That will be returned to the applicant once the agency ensures construction did not cause significant erosion and sedimentation along the Four Mile River area.
The project has gone through a range of variations since Old Lyme town officials started pursuing it in 2014, and at one point included ideas to install an independent sewer system to service beach neighborhoods. That was eventually deemed ineffective and too expensive, paving way to the shared system being planned now. Old Lyme’s neighborhoods have always relied on cesspools and septic tanks to process its sewage.
The three beach associations have already signed inter-municipal agreements with East Lyme and another with New London in 2018 to send and treat sewage through those towns. As part of those agreements, the Old Lyme beach associations will essentially be treated as a customer of the East Lyme system.
East Lyme was under an order from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to reach an agreement with the beach associations, according to previous reporting from The Day. Under the agreement, the Old Lyme beach communities will pay East Lyme for the costs of using its sewer system.
In the application to the East Lyme Agency, Noe outlined that the project may begin as soon as 2020 and extend through 2022. This would include all phases of the project, including building the shared pump station, as well as the force main pipe proposed along Route 156.
“We are just chugging along. We are moving along,” Noe said by phone interview Wednesday.
He said the associations are still in the design phase of the plans and still must line up town easements and receive permitting from various state agencies, including the Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over Route 156.
Otis had said in an earlier presentation to the Agency that the sewer line will be made of PVC piping and will be pressure treated before construction to prevent leaks or pipe bursts over the river.
“This follows standard practice,” Otis had said, mentioning that Old Lyme’s Point O’Woods Association completed a similar project in 2008 when it decided, after seven years of planning, to hook into East Lyme’s sewer system by running its own line along Route 156 and the Four Mile River bridge.

Estimated completion date moved up on Center Street bridge in Wallingford
Lauren Takores
WALLINGFORD — Work on the Center Street bridge may be completed earlier than expected, state officials said this week.The revised date of completion is May 25, 2021. State Department of Transportation officials had announced in March a completion date of 2022. Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said Thursday that the news of the updated completion date is “great.”“We’re hopeful it will reopen as soon as possible,” he said. “It’s taken a long time, but we’re thankful there’s hopefully a light at the end of the bridge.”Kevin Nursick, state Department of Transportation spokesman, said via email Wednesday that the project is in Stage 2 of construction. Micropiles for an earth retaining system have been installed, and the contractor, New Haven-based C.J. Fucci, installed the second abutment sub-footing Monday. The contractor plans on completing concrete substructure this month, and completing the north section of the bridge by the end of the 2019 construction season, Nusick said.He added that traffic may be moved this season to the other side of the bridge, but it’s not guaranteed.“We are working with the contractor to transition traffic to the new structure this season if weather and conditions allow,” Nursick said.The planned 2020 season work includes completion of the northern portion of the new bridge, transitioning traffic onto the new structure, and demolition and replacement of the south side of the new bridge.The planned 2021 season work includes final bridge paving, landscaping, and sidewalk and curb work.
Work on the Center Street bridge replacement project restarted in April.Construction had been stopped for more than a year as DOT engineers assessed the stability of the bridge and modified the existing plan.The DOT, which is responsible for maintenance because Route 150 is a state road, previously rated the century-old bridge over Wharton Brook structurally deficient and recommended replacement.The project called for a concrete deck over a steel girder superstructure supported by concrete abutments resting on bedrock.The new bridge will be about 13 feet longer and 1 foot wider than the old bridge, with sidewalks.The bridge replacement is being done in two phases to maintain traffic flow.Construction began in 2016. Cars were pushed to the south side, and the north side of the bridge was demolished.Construction delays began when the contractor raised concerns that demolition work on the abutments could destabilize the support structure."The abutments could be unstable with heavy construction activity in direct proximity," Nursick said in March. "Pounding, digging and smashing potentially could upset the ground and existing bridge abutments, or the foundations that traffic is using right now." DOT found the bridge was stable but the plan needed to be redesigned. Adjustments include installing bracing on the bridge as well as micropiles, which are "reinforcements installed into the ground," he said. Nursick has said the changes will add about $2 million over the original cost estimate of $3.9 million.


 


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