Berlin bridge projects in limbo

Published on Thursday, 18 January 2018 22:23
Written by Charles Paullin

@CPaullinNBH

BERLIN - Several projects recently delayed by Gov. Dannel Malloy include improvement to two local bridges.

Projects on Spruce Brook Road over Spruce Brook and Burnham Street over the Mattabesset River are awaiting funding after Malloy, on Jan. 10, postponed several projects around the state until new revenue is appropriated by the legislature for the Special Transportation Fund.

The Special Transportation Fund finances the state’s transportation system, including the operating costs of the Department of Transportation and all the services it provides.

The projects postponed totaled $4.3 billion in costs. Spruce Brook Road has a price tag of $578,886, Burnham Street $1,077,442.

“If Connecticut does not take the necessary action to allow us to restart these vital projects, not only will it put the state’s infrastructure into a further state of disrepair, it will hurt our economy,” Malloy said. “I want to be very clear - this is preventable, but it requires immediate action. The legislature must act this year to avoid potentially devastating setbacks to our transportation system.”

Deputy Director of Public Works Jim Horbal said the town will look to put the Burnham Street project out to bid soon in case state funding is appropriated. The project has already had design plans made.

“Burnham Street, as close as it is, we’re looking to go out to bid on it later this month,” said Horbal. He added the town is waiting to acquire a couple of easements of abutting property in order to become responsible for the land, and will be including language saying the project is contingent on state funding.”

Horbal said he was hoping to have the project completed within the year, Horbal said.

As for Spruce Brook Road, while designs are done, the project is awaiting approval by a preservation trust, as it is in the National Register of Historic Places. A portion of the existing retaining wall belonged to the pistol maker Simeon North, Horbal said.

“It’s a situation that is out of our control,” said Horbal, who remain hopeful that state funding will come. “We look forward to an expeditious resolution of the matter so that the projects can move forward.”

“We must act immediately in the 2018 legislative session and institute (highway) tolls or another revenue stream to avert the oncoming crisis,” said state Rep. Tony Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill. Guerra is co-chairman of the legislature’s Transportation Committee.

Until state funding comes through, the Berlin projects will be on hold indefinitely, Horbal said.

Four other bridge projects -- on Worthington Ridge and Berlin Street over the Mattabesset River, Wildermere Road over Belcher Brook and Heritage Drive over Stockings Brook -- are not being delayed because they are funded federally. Acting Town Manager Jack Healy incorrectly stated they were being held up at a Town Council meeting Tuesday.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or cpaullin@centralctcommunications.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Thursday, 18 January 2018 22:23. Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2018 22:26.