By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — An engineering firm has been selected for survey and design work to pave the way for upgrades to downtown’s infrastructure.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses unanimously approved, at its Feb. 1 meeting, a $513,310 contract with Kleinfelder Engineering, of San Diego, to design storm water and sanitary sewer systems, offer construction oversight of the design, and to oversee a plan to repair, replace and improve those systems.
The borough will pay for the project with its federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. The downtown areas that would be affected include Church Street, Maple Street, Old Firehouse Road and Parcel B near the Naugatuck Event Center.
Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said a large portion of the sanitary/sewer and storm water systems date back to the 1880s. With the future projects that are anticipated for downtown, the borough needs the infrastructure upgrades, he said.
“When we have a lot of rain in a short period of time on Church Street in the downtown areas, water spurts up out of the catch basins into the air,” Hess said at the meeting. “We had a sinkhole on Maple Street and the storm water system and the sanitary/sewer system downtown right now is inadequate for what we currently have. We need to fix that and we need to make it even better for the newer uses that we’re going to bring.”
Naugatuck received the first half of its $9.2 million ARP funds last June and will receive the second $4.6 million this June.
Local officials will have to spend all of the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds by the end of 2023, according to Controller Allyson Bruce.
ARP funds can be used to support public health expenditures, address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, replace lost public sector revenue, provide premium pay for essential workers and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure according to U.S. Department of the Treasury website.
During rainfall, water from the west side of the borough comes down through and around Hillside Avenue and works its way through the town green and into downtown. Water also comes down Church Street and goes right through Parcel B and also heads down to Rubber Avenue according to Hess.
“The water from the west side of Naugatuck is working its way down to the river in a network of old pipes that needs to be replaced, repaired with linings and a whole host of things,” Hess said. “To do that requires some major engineering.”
Borough officials received eight proposals and chose Kleinfelder Engineering due to the company’s confidence and previous work with the borough, Hess said.
“All the towns now are hiring engineering firms and it’s difficult to get a firm to jump on a project,” Hess said. “They agreed to jump on this project and get involved.”
The borough needs a engineering plan to minimize the amount it will cost to perform the repairs. Some areas will need new pipes will other areas will need liners, Hess said.
“We believe that without spending all of the money, we could do the storm water/storm-water system, the sanitary/sewer system and new revised complete street plan for Church Street and Maple Street,” Hess said during the meeting. “We picked those streets because we’re going to dig them all up with the sewer lines and when we dig them we’re going to replace them with complete streets.”
The project also includes designs for Hillside Avenue. Borough officials have applied for state funding to the fix the roads as well, according to Hess.
Public works Director James Stewart, the acting borough engineer, said the project will include a tremendous amount of sewer inspections.
“We know we have a problem. We know our sewers are poor downtown and we know our storm waters are poor downtown,” Stewart said. “So the first phase is to figure out what’s wrong with them, where they’re wrong and hydraulically what needs to be done and what’s the best areas to attack with the money.”
Since borough officials know what the project entails, surveying can begin so that workers can start design work sooner. Surveying work can be finished by July according to Stewart.
Stewart said the borough will look into additional grant funding after Deputy Mayor Robert A. Neth asked whether the borough was looking at any historical funds for Hillside Avenue. The road is known for its brick section that curves around Hillside Intermediate School.
The borough is going too fast track the Hillside brick road project and the engineering firm is going to assist with getting the borough’s state application into the state Department of Transportation. The borough would be designing that project with federal funds and constructing it with state funds, Stewart said.
Hess said the whole downtown area will have the infrastructure it needs using both federal and state funds.
“We’re trying to plan it in a way so we will have additional money leftover to acquire downtown parking,” Hess said.