Somers receives state grant to repair Mountain Road

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Somers - posted Fri., Jan. 25, 2013
First Selectwoman Lisa Pelligrini says she is actively looking for money for the town. File photo. - Contributed Photo

On Jan. 7, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grants to Somers and seven other Connecticut towns engaging in capital improvement projects to stabilize and reinforce infrastructure, restore and revitalize public spaces as well as create jobs. 

“STEAP grants are an excellent example of how state and local government partnerships can make meaningful improvements that directly benefit residents,” Malloy said in a news release. “As we work to rebuild roads, repair bridges, and strengthen business centers in towns across the state, we are making Connecticut more competitive and a better place to work and live.”

Somers received a $500,000 STEAP award to replace six culverts, pipes and drains that allow water to flow under a road, and repave Mountain Road. The road acts as a major collector road and a connector to Stafford, provides access to several neighborhoods and is vital for emergency vehicle access. The STEAP allotment to Somers, Andover, Berlin, East Haddam, East Hampton, Fairfield, Lyme and Suffield totaled just under $2.9 million.

“I am sure that the investment in the culverts will pay off over the coming years in saved maintenance money. Additionally, the repairs to the culverts will protect the wetlands and provide for safer driving conditions,” said state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi.

While Somers First Selectwoman Lisa Pelligrini was looking into previous STEAP awards given to Somers, she found a grant from 2006 that had expired, but only $95,000 out of the awarded $500,000 had been used. The grant paid for design studies of the Maple Street Bridge but no further actions were taken by the town, causing the town to lose the additional $404,000. Pelligrini petitioned with the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management and received the money back. She is waiting on a roads inventory and plans to use the funds to resurface roads that are in dire need of repair. She believes the repairs to Mountain Road and others in town are preventative maintenance that will save money in the long run from constant road repairs.

“We’re using these opportunities that the state is giving the towns in order to fix a lot of different problems,” Pelligrini said. “We’re actively and aggressively going out to see what others forms of money can be used for road repairs, other than taxpayer dollars.”

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