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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer road project bigger than usual

As published in the Record Journal Thursday June 21, 2012

By Laurie Rich Salerno
Record-Journal staff

(203) 317-2235

WALLINGFORD — The sights and sounds of summer 2012 will soon include the smell of hot blacktop. In mid to late July, the town will begin a repaving project that includes the largest number of streets in years, thanks to state, federal and local funds, Public Works Director Henry McCully said.

The town is preparing to repave or reconstruct at least nine streets in the 2012-13 fiscal year. The work will be split over the summer and fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013.

McCully said he has not yet finalized the schedule. Tentative plans for this summer are to start milling and repaving all of East Center Street and Carpenter Lane; Ward Street from South Elm to Woodland; and much of Simpson Avenue. North Plains Industrial Road will also be repaved this summer, using $686,000 in federal stimulus funds. The town’s Engineering Department is overseeing the North Plains project, Town Engineer John Thompson said.

More likely to occur in spring 2013, McCully said, is work on Christian Street, Parker Farms Road, South Turnpike Road and North Main Extension from Route 68 to Yale Avenue, which was funded by a $214,200 Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant from the state. Work on at least seven of the streets will be paid for by the $1.7 million approved by the Town Council for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The schedule could change, with work on some the later planned streets being done earlier if work on the initial roads goes smoothly. The work could also speed up once the town’s new transfer station is completed, expected to be between the end of July and mid-August.

“We have forces tied up with the residents’ drop-off center (right now),” McCully said.

The yearly decision of which streets to repave is made by Public Works, the town’s Utilities Division and Yankee Gas.

“The number one thing is we want to know if there’s going to be any excavations by any other utility — anyone who would have underground utilities and would have plans to excavate that road. We don’t want to spend a lot of money on paving and have them dig a trench,” McCully said.

He said the group looks 10 years down the road at possible excavation, though emergency excavations can sometimes foil the plans. Though the milling and paving work is done by external contractors, Public Works performs all the drainage studies and work on the streets first, McCully said.

Thompson said the work on busy thoroughfare North Plains Industrial will mostly occur at night, as per the choice of contractor Waters Construction, of Bridgeport. It will not be closed, but certain lanes may be closed.

“It’s the first time Wallingford has done a nighttime operation on a roadway reconstruction project — it’s a new experience for us,” Thompson said. “There’s a lot of businesses on North Plains; the contractor looked in and said this is how we should do it.” He said daytime prep work will begin the week of July 4, with nighttime operations likely to begin the following week.

“The whole thing should last less than 30 days,” Thompson said.