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CT Construction Digest Monday November 4, 2019

Lamont Makes Transportation Pitch to Senate Republicans

“The question is how are we going to pay for it?” Fasano said.
Lamont believes a limited number of tolls is the right way to leverage the federal dollars.
But Fasano wants to know what would happen if they stretched out the 10 years to 15 years?
He said when the projects are mapped there’s a concern about how many are happening in a certain segment of the state at the same time.
He said 15 years would presumably mean less principal and interest payments per year, but he hasn’t done the math yet to figure out if it would work.
“There’s no need to cram everything in. Maybe there’s a way of looking at this a little bit differently,” Fasano said. “And maybe we don’t get to do everything we want to do but maybe we can do everything we need to do.”
Fasano said the Lamont plan includes about $3 billion in bridges and $4 to $5 billion in rail improvements. 
He wonders how many of those projects need to be tolled in order to access the interest rates from the federal government below 1%.
Fasano said he really would like to talk to the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis about the proposal, but he can’t until the governor releases the plan publicly.
Fasano said he told Lamont that.
“We are trying to make this public soon,” Max Reiss, Lamont’s communications director, said Friday.

East Lyme officials look to further whittle down $2.2 million police building estimate
Mary Biekert   
 East Lyme — In what was the next step of many to reach a final consensus on future police building renovations, architects earlier this week presented updated cost estimates to town officials overseeing the project.
While the estimates revealed positive strides for a committee trying to curb renovation costs to fit a tight $1.7 million budget, it also showed that more work still is needed to decrease costs further.
Compared to an original preliminary cost estimate of $5.8 million that architects Silver/Petrucelli + Associates presented to the Public Safety Building Vision Committee late last month, new estimates Tuesday showed a smaller price tag — $2.2 million — needed to cover renovations over 14,776 square feet of building.
Architects said that can be whittled down further through a variety of ways.
“We’ve gone from a quarter page of estimates to now four pages of estimates tonight. So, you’ll now have hundreds of line items that you guys can now go through and you can choose your priorities,” said William Silver, principal architect of Silver/Petrucelli. “If you’re in the mood, we can get you to $1.7 million tonight, and we can show you how.”
That number, which is not a final estimate but more of a malleable price point to further work with, includes more than $85,000 budgeted for contingency costs, which architects Silver and Brian Cleveland said may not end up being spent, as well as an additional $210,000 the town is predicted to pay contractors to build out the project.
The $2.2 million estimate, however, did not include a sally port or holding cell area as part of the building — estimated to now cost $677,673 compared to the previous $1 million estimate — nor an estimated $268,111 needed to structurally upgrade the building, as is required for public safety buildings under state regulations. The town may be able to bypass those regulations, should it receive a building modification waiver from the state. If it does not receive a waiver, the town will need to pay for the upgrades.
Architects said Tuesday that the committee should submit a modification waiver application to the state building official as soon as members have approved a design concept. Committee Chairman Paul Dagle said the state typically has within 30 days to reply to the town with a decision on whether the project will qualify for the modification.
While it is not typical for towns to request such a modification, Silver said, it isn't rare for the building inspector to grant one. He said the state will be in close contact with the town during the process.
The committee has said it is moving forward on designs for the sally port and holding cells to obtain accurate estimates before deciding whether to add them to the project. Residents likely would need to approve more funds for those options.
The town's police force presently uses Waterford's holding cells to process the people it arrests.
Tuesday’s meeting came after weeks of skepticism as to whether the police building committee would be able to bring down renovation costs to within the approved $1.7 million budget and offer residents the promised value they voted for in February.
Last week, the committee reviewed revised concept plans for the facility, which, rather than the original 2-floor plan, featured renovations over just the first floor of the building, thereby saving more than $1 million.
Architects on Tuesday also outlined other ways for the committee to reduce the $2.2 million estimate, including having the town's Public Works Department cover some renovation responsibilities, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Architects said the public works crews may be able to perform most, if not all, of the exterior improvements needed, totaling $80,760, as well as some utilities work, totaling nearly $27,000.
Police Chief Mike Finkelstein immediately pointed out more examples of items that could be cut, including a $600 coffee machine and 35 new lockers, estimated to cost $1,000 each. Finkelstein also noted that Honeywell had left behind marker boards in each of the offices, and that additional savings could be found through furniture costs.
Silver and Cleveland said the committee could also save if it were able to keep the second floor of the building completely vacant, bypassing the need for a $25,000 stair egress. However, the town possibly would need to build out the egress later if it decides to use the second floor in the future.
They said up to $166,000 could be saved if the committee does not purchase two new air handlers for the building. Cleveland said the air handlers likely would need to be replaced in the near future, with one very near the end of its 20-year lifespan, but the town could budget maintenance costs for that expense later.
Committee member Lisa Picarazzi at Tuesday's meeting asked about the lifespan of the building’s roof, which Cleveland said he believed was original to the 1988 building.
“There are areas on the roof that do need to be repaired,” Cleveland said. “... You may get another five years out of it. You may get another year out of it. Minimally, we will want to repair the places where the seams have started to open. I think there are only a couple locations where that has happened.”
Silver added that, “If this town can tolerate some repair budgets for the next three or five years, you can potentially do more with this roof.”
A total roof replacement, the architects estimated, would cost more than $370,000.
Picarazzi then asked if the town had performed a formal inspection on the building before purchasing it.
“My understanding is that town staff did an inspection and they had an outside vendor who did the hazardous material assessment,” Dagle said, before later adding that he had never seen the formal report.
Nickerson has provided The Day with documents detailing an environmental study, conducted by a contractor hired by Honeywell in January for the purposes of the sale, and asbestos testing performed earlier this year by private contractors hired by the town before it purchased the building. Both studies cleared the building of environmental and asbestos concerns. The environmental study found no concerns with the building’s 650-foot-deep water well, according to tests performed in late 2018.
Nickerson also has told The Day that Building Official Steve Way, town engineer and public works Deputy Director Bill Scheer and former Fire Marshal Chris Taylor each inspected the building early last spring before the town closed on the purchase, going over the building’s systems, including its HVAC, as well as the walls and roof.
Nickerson clarified Friday that he did not have formal documentation detailing this after The Day had, through the Freedom of Information Act, requested those documents. He said that town employees had told him verbally that the building was in good condition. He said that this was a typical way of doing business and that not every inspection his employees perform is documented.
“Honeywell was in the building and it was good for them. And with any building, there’s going to be maintenance,” Nickerson said by phone Friday. “It’s like that for every other building in town. So we bought a building, and we bought it for a third of the price that it would cost to build it new, even with renovations. Yes, we will need some money for maintenance. We expect that’s going to be the case.”
“The building is in great shape," he added. "And we had our engineers and people look at inside and out."
With many price points and features to consider moving forward, Dagle asked committee members Tuesday to be ready to suggest which costs to shave at its next meeting, on Nov. 7, and whether they would be ready to accept the design concept presented to them by the architects.
“We can go look at these items to see how we get down to the $1.7 (million). And we don’t have give up everything. I have no problem if this committee goes back to the Board of Selectmen and says, ‘We need $1.8 (million). On the other hand, I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water either,” he said.

Section of Route 1 in East Lyme to close for bridge replacement
East Lyme — The Department of Transportation has announced that a section of Route 1 will be closed from 8 a.m. Nov. 11 through 8 a.m. Nov. 25.
The closure is necessary, DOT said, to replace a bridge between Heritage Road and Lovers Lane.
Detour signs will be installed to guide drivers through the area by using Interstate 95 and Route 161. The DOT advised drivers to maintain a safe speed when driving in the area.
The project is being performed by the DOT and consists of replacing the corrugated metal pipe arch culvert built in 1982 with a new precast concrete box culvert.
Approximately 200 feet of reconstruction along the roadway will be performed adjacent to the bridge. A sanitary sewer line will also be relocated to the south of the bridge.

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