Town Council approves funds for Riverside reconstruction

By Evan Pajer - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Tue., Jan. 8, 2013
This area, along Riverside Drive, would be reconstructed as part of the project. Photos by Evan Pajer.
This area, along Riverside Drive, would be reconstructed as part of the project. Photos by Evan Pajer.

The East Hartford Town Council has approved the first step in the use of $1.2 million in federal funds for improvements to Riverside Drive. The resolution, which passed the council in a 9-0 vote on Jan. 2, will fund a $392,000 agreement with an engineering firm that will come up with plans and estimates for the work.

"This is a resolution required by the state Department of Transportation," council member Linda Russo said. Russo said the DOT came up with the agreement - which carried a figure of $291,000 - last year.

Public Works Director Tim Bockus explained that the DOT came up with the original figure in order to give the town time to negotiate. "It was done to sign the process along," Bockus said. "They told us to use this figure for the agreement." Bockus said that since the original figure was released last year, the DOT has undergone negotiations for the project and came up with the new $392,000 amount, which he said more accurately reflects what the agreement will cost.

According to a memo Bockus sent to Mayor Marcia Leclerc that was released by the town, the $392,000 will come from the $1.2 million in federal funds already approved for the reconstruction of the road, and will be fully paid for by the federal grant. "The supplement, once final, will fully fund our agreement with Parsons Brinkerhoff [sic] for the design, which has a value of $392,174," Bockus said in the memo. "This is a 100% reimbursement agreement from the federal earmark." Parsons Brinckerhoff is a multinational engineering firm with a branch in Glastonbury.

Bockus also updated the council on the status of the project. "The state DOT has accepted our design plans," he said. Bockus said the project will include new and more uniform gutters, realignment of existing gutters, the installation of granite curbing along the road, resurfacing, sidewalk repair and the addition of sidewalks.

Council member Esther Clarke asked Bockus whether the project would include widening the road, but Bockus said the complete scope of the project is still being considered. "Once we select a consultant, we will have a meeting to talk about the scope of the project," he said.

Riverside Drive is home to the main campus of Goodwin College and links the college's campus and several of its expansion buildings, including the Connecticut River Academy magnet high school, to Main Street. The $1.2 million federal grant was awarded to the town in 2011 to reconstruct the road, with matching funds added by Goodwin College and the Town of East Hartford. It was not specified at the meeting when the town plans to have the project out for proposals and possible bids.

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