Reconstruction of North Main Street on the horizon

NAUGATUCK — The reconstruction of North Main Street is ready to move forward.

The project will reconstruct a section of the street between the Route 8 on- and off-ramps and Union Street, which is less than half a mile long. The work, which was proposed nearly two years ago, will include removing old trolley tracks, replacing the asphalt, and installing new drainage and sidewalks.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses last week awarded a $2.34 million contract for the work to Center Earth LLC, a North Haven-based construction company.

The work will be paid for through a Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program grant, which is administered by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Public Works Director James Stewart said the grant includes an additional 10 percent for inspection costs and 10 percent for contingency, bringing the total amount the borough will receive to approximately $2.8 million.

Stewart said he still has to iron out the inspection costs.

The engineering firm Milone and Macbroom, which created the designs for the project, is also slated to be the inspectors for the job. However, the firm’s fee is at about 15 percent of the cost of the project, Stewart said.

This would put the cost above the 10 percent allotted in the grant.

“I need to confirm that the contingency can be used for the inspection and try to negotiate this fee down,” Stewart said.

With the contract awarded, Stewart said the work could start this fall or the spring of 2019. Either way, it is expected to be completed by June 2020, he said.

The project includes bump-outs along the street, which elicited concerns from some burgesses.

The plan calls for two sets of bump-outs, which are curb extensions that are designed to slow down traffic. Each bump-out would be approximately 6 feet wide and 30 feet long, Stewart said.

The bump-outs would be near The Corner Tavern at 178 North Main St., and Naugatuck Valley Memorial-Fitzgerald Zembruski Funeral Home at 240 North Main St., Stewart said.

The bump-outs, which would be similar to the ones along Church Street, would have crosswalks in the middle, Stewart said.

Stewart said the bump-outs were put in the plan to deter people from speeding.

“We are afraid that, once we repave this road, it is going to be straight, it is going to be smooth, it is going to be wide, it will be fast. If we have these two areas where the road is necked down 22 or 24 feet wide, it will slow people down while they drive down through that area,” Stewart said.

Burgess Carl Herb said the bump-outs would eliminate parking spaces, and the street already has limited parking because of the multi-family homes on North Main Street.

“By taking away those parking places we are compounding an already enormous problem with those multi-dwelling homes there,” Herb said.

Stewart said four parking spaces would be lost due to the bump-outs.

Burgesses also raised concerns that the bump-outs would make the road more difficult to plow during the winter.

Stewart said employees who plow roads already have to deal with obstacles on other roads.

“I will be honest with you, our guys would prefer to have it nice and wide open and easy to plow. But that is part of their job, to go around parked cars and to go around bump-outs,” Stewart said.

Ultimately, the board approved the contract with the understanding that Stewart would bring the plan with the proposed bump-outs back before the board for discussion and approval before that part of the project is done.