OLD LYME — The Community Connectivity Grant Committee held a virtual public information session Thursday night to explain the costs and a projected schedule for installing sidewalks on sections of Hartford Ave. and Shore Road.
The town was awarded a $400,000 Community Connectivity Grant in January 2019 and chose BSC Group, of Glastonbury, as the design firm in January 2020. The grant has a 3-year timeline to use the funding,
Mary Jo Nosal, chair of the committee and a selectman for the town, presented a budget summary showing the grant will cover construction costs estimated at $287,000 for 970 feet of sidewalk on the west side of Hartford Ave. between Bocce Lane and Shore Road, as well as $15,000 in construction services and a $35,000 contingency fee, totaling $337,000. The remaining $63,000 will be used toward a section of 1,300 feet of sidewalk on Shore Road between Old Colony Road and Cross Lane.
The cost to the town, $21,550, includes $2,550 for a permanent easement along the Ez Mini Mart Food Store property, $4,000 in legal fees and $15,000 in construction administration services.
The town has paid $30,000 for engineering and design fees for the sidewalks on the upper portion of Hartford Ave. When the bids came in lower than $400,000, sidewalks along Shore Road were added to the project and the town paid $10,000 in additional engineering and design fees.
According to the presentation, the concepts for improvements to Hartford Ave. were developed in 2011.
In 2013, the town was awarded a Connecticut Department of Transportation Alternatives Grant (TAP) that provided 80 percent reimbursement for improvements that initially included restrooms, a bike lane and a town green.
According to board member Jim Lampos, restrooms were removed from subsequent drafts of the plan, when it became apparent that the state grant would not reimburse their cost. A proposal to include restrooms as part of a pump house to be built on town land, required for sewer installation in the beach community, has not been executed, and the project to construct a pump house has been relocated to private land.
The updated project included sidewalks with bump-outs on Hartford Ave. from Bocce Lane to the beach, which reduced available parking and were controversial among business owners. The construction was completed in May 2017 and cost the town about $185,000 after reimbursement.
Nosal said the goals of the project are to improve pedestrian safety, to complete the pedestrian link between the commercial areas on Shore Road and the previously completed sidewalks south of Bocce Lane, and to “improve, enhance and expand the identity and economic vitality of the Sound View gateway area by enhancing safety for alternative modes of access and linking commercial areas.”
She said the committee first met in April 2019 and has held 38 meetings to date.
Frank Pappalardo, a member of the committee and chair of the Sound View Commission, said that in addition to the 38 meetings, the project has also been discussed at length at many Board of Selectman and Sound View Commission meetings.
“The DOT has told us we are far ahead of other recipients of the grant and that will bode well for future projects,” he added.
First Selectman Tim Griswold said the project will pay the prevailing wage based on Department of Transportation guidelines.
Nosal said the project will go out to bid in November and the contract will be awarded in December. The groundbreaking is planned for March 2021 and construction is expected to be completed by Memorial Day 2021.
“It’s a 6 week estimated project,” said Nosal. “We’re cautiously optimistic, even with the pandemic.”
Griswold said the project illustrations have been mounted on foam boards and will be available to the public in the large meeting room in Town Hall.
Colin Yankee was the sole member of the public to speak at the meeting.
“Great work. My wife and I walk there and that Shore road is very dangerous. We see cars there just flying by,” he said.
Note: This story has been revised and corrected to explain the absence of restrooms from current planning.