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Manafort Brothers Builds, Moves Stretch of Route 72 in Connecticut

Tue September 01, 2009 - Northeast Edition
Jay Adams

Sometimes crews build a new highway. Sometimes crews move it. Sometimes they do both.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) is overseeing just such a project in the relocated Route 72 in Bristol and Plainville, Conn., which involves the construction of a four-lane arterial highway.

The new highway will have appropriate turning lanes from the vicinity of the present terminus of the existing Route 72 expressway at Forestville Avenue (Route 372) to the vicinity of Middle Street (approximately 2.4 mi. [4 km]).

A raised median treatment separates traffic from Route 372 to Pine and Todd streets. The project also provides more than 2 mi. (3.3 km) of additional state and local roadway improvements.

Project Description

The project consists of a 2-mi. relocation of Route 72, connecting the existing Route 72 expressway in Plainville to Route 229 (Middle Street) in Bristol, as well as the reconstruction of 2.4 mi. of existing secondary and local roadways.

As part of this project, a new three-span bridge is being constructed to convey Route 72 over the Pequabuck River. A box culvert is being constructed at Yards Pond; four retaining walls and five embankment walls are being constructed, 4.7 acres (1.9 ha) of wetlands are being created, and significant utility relocation work is being undertaken.

According to ConnDOT, the financial sources (for construction only) are $40.8 million from the federal government, $10.9 million from the state government and $700,000 from the town of Bristol.

Latest DOT figures show that expenditures to date total $29.5 million, with a forecast to completion being $43 million. The project began in August 2007 and officials said that more than 62 percent of the project is complete with a forecasted completion date of November 2010.

The contractor for the project is Manafort Brothers Inc. of Plainville, Conn. ConnDOT District One Office — David Lavado, district engineer; James Hamilton, assistant district engineer; Russell Wagoner, supervising engineer; and Dayton Schroeter, project engineer, are administering the contract. Inspection services are provided by AECOM, with Steve Macdonald as resident engineer and Peter Blauvelt as chief inspector.

According to Project Engineer Dayton Schroeter, ConnDOT Project No. 17-137 involves the construction of a four-lane, divided, Boulevard-style, roadway, beginning at the existing terminus of the Route 72 Expressway and remerging into the existing Route 72 at the Riverside Drive and Memorial Boulevard intersection.

“The new roadway will provide an improvement to the peak hour delay in and out of Bristol,” said Schroeter. “It relocates traffic onto a widened, two-lane each direction roadway with turning lanes at signalized intersections.”

According to Schroeter, the project has one river crossing, a box culvert, 10 embankment walls and retaining walls, one pedestrian bridge, approximately 1,000 cu. yds. (764.5 cu m) of concrete for bridge and 100 tons (990.7 t) of steel. Walls are precast units, and the box-culvert is in precast sections.

“Our estimate for superpave asphalt is about 70,000 tons,” said Schroeter. “The new roadway runs through a woodland area that was acquired over 30 years ago with the intent to do a raised/elevated expressway type road. It also overlaps existing city streets which have posed utility and right of way issues.”

Schroeter added that the relocation of Route 72 has an extensive environmental mitigation aspect. “It involves streambank stabilization treatment, wetland creation and handling and disposal of material from areas of environmental concern. This new road is highly favored by the city of Bristol as a new corridor to the center of their ’Downtown District.’ Other adjacent towns also share some enthusiasm that the road will encourage an economic boost.”

Challenges, Risks

According to officials, there are many challenges involved with the work. Among them:

• Utility relocation work must be aggressively coordinated with the contractor’s schedule.

• Reconstructing secondary roadways while maintaining traffic and access to business/residences.

• Risk factors beyond the department’s control (utility work and contractor resources/planning) make schedule recovery difficult.

Among chief utilities concerns are AT&T’s unions, who, as of this writing, have not walked off the job and seem less likely to do so. However, if a strike occurs, then it is expected AT&T’s work — from aerial relocation work to the design and construction of the underground relocation work — will halt.


While significant progress has been made on the construction of relocated Route 72, the reconstruction of the existing roadways continues to lag, officials have posted.

In an effort to improve progress, the District has agreed to allow the contractor, Manafort Brothers Inc., to work outside the contract’s staging plans. Advance work may begin on Pine Street this year and this has the potential to greatly reduce the amount of work to be completed in 2010.

In addition, according to ConnDOT, the contractor was given permission to reconstruct Forestville Avenue (Stage 1, Phase 3 work) this year concurrently with Phase 1 and Phase 2 work, instead of next year as currently scheduled. This should allow the contractor to have the eastern half of the project completed this year.

Construction now resumes at the intersections of West Main Street and Forestville Avenue in Plainville, Broad Street (Route 72) and King Street (Route 229) in Bristol.

Construction will be continuing along Riverside Avenue for the construction of the slope adjacent to the railroad tracks and the construction of a retaining wall along the river. Also, at this time drainage will be installed at Riverside Avenue.

The contractor will begin the installation of the drainage systems from the end of the existing expressway to the project limits on East Main Street (Route 72) in conjunction with the roadway reconstruction in this area.

Recent Activity

Over recent months, the contractor has placed concrete for the deck at Bridge No. 06619, completed the second stage of the Route 72 expressway reconstruction and paved the last leg of relocated Route 72.

The new intersection of West Main and Forestville Avenue was opened July 10 and since then, work has continued on the sidewalks and driveways in this area. The contractor also was given plans for the extension of Wall 103 and work has begun in August on this wall.

On Pine Street, Manafort Brothers Inc. began relocating a 16-in. (60.6 cm) water main. When this is completed, AT&T will install the remaining poles on Pine Street, which will allow CL&P to complete their relocation work on Pine Street.

CL&P has completed its utility relocation work on King Street, according to ConnDOT. AT&T had subcontractors and internal crews onsite July, working to relocate aerial and underground facilities on Route 229 and elsewhere near that road.

The structural steel for the new bridge carrying Route 72 over the Pequabuck River has been erected and the contractor is installing the forms for the bridge deck.

Utility companies will be relocating their facilities along Pine Street from Route 229 to Pine Lake.

The contractor is continuing to prepare the roadway from the end of the existing expressway to Todd Street for installation of the asphalt pavement.

The contractor has reduced Route 72 Eastbound to one lane, from the beginning of the expressway to the Pequabuck river bridge. This was required in order to revise the right lane and shoulder. CEG

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