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    Sunday, September 25, 2022

    New London approves $4 million road project, roundabout on Jefferson Avenue

    Digital renderings of the planned roundabout at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Chester Street. Construction is expected to begin in October. (Fuss and O'Neill)
    Digital renderings of the planned roundabout at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Chester Street. Construction is expected to begin in October. (Fuss and O'Neill)

    New London ― The city council on Monday night granted the approvals necessary for a year-long road reconstruction project on Jefferson Avenue that is slated to begin next month.

    The project includes replacing the traffic signal at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Chester Street with a three-legged roundabout.

    The total cost for the project is $4,082,920, of which about 97% will be paid through a grant given to the city by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The funds come from the DOT’s Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program (LOTCIP).

    “We’ve been looking at that intersection and a way to improve it, helping with traffic flow and to reduce accidents. We decided to look at roundabouts,” Mayor Michael Passero said.

    He said the city is working on another roundabout at the intersection of Williams and Broad Street.

    Brian Sear, the city’s director of public works, said it was a long process but he is “really excited about the great project.“ He said Jefferson Avenue will go through a “total reconstruction” and the area will become safer and more attractive.

    Apart from the roundabout, the project aims to install drainage improvements, ADA-compliant sidewalks and sidewalk ramps, dedicated bicycle lanes and the installation and repair of granite, concrete, pavement markings and signs.

    Sear said the city spent three years, from 2016 to 2019, doing preliminary work for the project and working with the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Government, the local entity that administers the LOTCIP.

    The city hired the engineering and consulting firm Fuss & O’Neill in 2019 for $215,000 to design the project. Sear said the city spent the following two and a half years working on the design and review.

    He said the city received bids in June and determined the lowest qualified bid.

    On Monday, the City Council unanimously approved a $3.3 million contract with Colonna Concrete & Asphalt Paving of Woodbridge for the roundabout and roadway improvements.

    Sear said the remaining $600,000 in the approved $4 million grant will go towards incidentals and contingency fees.

    Expected to start in October and finish in October of 2023, Sear said construction will continue through the winter.

    The city is responsible for paying $97,760 of what remains of the project costs for a test pit excavation and decorative light pole and fixtures expenses that were not eligible for the grant.

    The council also voted 6-1 to approve another contract with Fuss & O’Neill in the amount of $258,000 for construction assistance and inspection services. Sear said the firm will be there to make sure the city is following guidelines during construction, which is a requirement of the project.

    Councilor John Satti voted against the Fuss & O’Neill contract, saying it was not a bid contract like the other contracts.

    Passero said professional service contracts do not go out to bid, they are negotiated.

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