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    Saturday, July 20, 2024

    Road repair agreement saving New London $600K in summer paving costs

    Crews conduct road milling work on Pleasant Street in New London, shown here on Monday, July 8, 2024. The work is part of a $1.1 million summer milling and paving project in the city. (John Penney/The Day)
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    New London ― Over the next two weeks, crews from the Burns Construction company will restore 18 city roads whose sections were torn up and patched nearly a year ago as part of Eversource utility work.

    The new paving work will include sections of Broad, Waller, Pleasant, West Coit, Clover, Raymond, Acorn, Konomoc, Dow, Ledyard and Farnsworth streets, along with Connecticut, Lincoln, Oneco and Saltonstall avenues and Waller and Wassimer courts.

    An ordinance approved years ago will save the city nearly $600,000 in paving and milling costs related to a summer road restoration project that began on Monday.

    Just more than half of the project’s $1.1 million price tag will be covered by the energy company as part of an agreement forged three years ago that requires any third-party trench work, including by cable, water or utility companies, to be paid for by the firms that disrupted the roads.

    Mayor Michael Passero said the impetus behind the ordinance was the habit of gas and cable companies of digging trenches to install new infrastructure and simply adding lower-quality patches to the affected roadway.

    “And this would happen on roads and streets that we’d previously milled and paved, taking years of life off those roads,” Passero said. “We’d have divots from gas lines and fiber optic cable installation that ran the length of a road, patches that didn’t hold up.”

    The ordinance requires a company to either conduct a curb-to-center-line permanent repair of a disturbed road, or pay the cost of the city contracting out the work.

    Several “half-road” sections will be newly milled and paved as part of the ongoing summer work, though portions of some roads will get a complete, “curb-to-curb" overhaul, Director of Public Works Brian Sear said.

    The agreement led to the city and Eversource coordinating their road-repair schedules to ensure utility work is completed ahead of any paving.

    “That prevents us from fixing a street and Eversource coming in and digging trenches that would have to fixed again later,” Sear said. “And the agreement stipulates Eversource can’t come back and dig up a street for five years after it’s been paved.”

    The final paving work is typically done up to a year after utility installation to allow the infrastructure to properly settle. That means sometimes holding off on paving a road that needs attention.

    “For example, Amity Street is in rough shape, but if we know Eversource is going to out there in a year, we’ll wait until that job’s done before re-paving it,” Sear said. “We’ll also work with Eversource to determine which roads will require full milling and paving and figure out how much it’ll cost.”

    The city’s portion of the road repair costs will be covered with part of a $1.8 million capital improvement bond approved in February.

    j.penney@theday.com

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