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.).
General Contractor Manafort Brothers, a slew of hard-working subcontractors and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) are bringing the relocated Route 72 project in on schedule.
With nearly three years of work under their belts — work began in August 2007 — highway construction crews are working hard to finish building this new highway stretch and its accompanying new and relocated highway bridges by Nov. 30, 2010.
Originally designed by Tectonic Engineering & Surveying Consultants P.C., ConnDOT is overseeing the final stages of the relocation of busy Route 72 in Bristol and Plainville, Conn., the crux of which is a new four-lane arterial highway.
According to ConnDOT officials on site, the project is imperative to “provide an improvement to the peak-hour delay, in and out of Bristol.”
It consists of a 2-mi. (3.2 km) 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. (3.9 km) of existing secondary and local roadways. It also includes more than 2 mi. of extra state and local road improvements.
Latest Improvements Complete
Since Construction Equipment Guide first reported the story of this impressive project (September 2009), major progress has been made. Site engineers report that:
• Wall No. 103 extension is nearly complete;
• The 16-in. (40.6 cm) water main on Pine Street has been relocated;
• AT&T has begun relocating remaining poles on Pine Street;
• Concrete has been placed at the new bridge carrying Route 72 over the Pequabuck River;
• The new Route 72 from end of the existing expressway to Todd Street has all been paved, with the exception of the final course of asphalt;
• Work has begun to install a new median barrier on the Route 72 Expressway to the new intersection with East Main Street;
• Bohemia Street has been closed permanently and Route 72 traffic has been diverted to the new intersection of Forestville Avenue and West Main Street;
• Workers continue to construct a new retaining wall on Riverside Avenue adjacent to the Pequabuck River; and
• Advance drainage work has begun on Pine Street.
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.
On Pine Street, Manafort Brothers has completely relocated a 16-in. (60.6 cm) water main. With this done, AT&T is installing the remaining poles on Pine Street, which will allow CL&P to complete its relocation work on Pine Street.
According to ConnDOT and Manafort Brothers, major subcontracting companies involved on the big highway/bridge project include:
• ADF Industries (MBR & signs)
• Rizzo Electrical (Traffic signals, illumination)
• G. Donaldson (Drilled shafts)
• Hartland Steel (Structural steel erection)
• JFC Steel Construction (Reinforcement)
• Safety Marking (Pavement markings)
• Santoro (Membrane waterproofing & asphaltic plug joints)
In addition, many other subcontractors are handling various other miscellaneous work, according to ConnDOT.
Concrete, Steel, Asphalt
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.)
A raised median treatment separates traffic from Route 372 to Pine and Todd streets. Since September, a critical intersection at West Main Street and Forestville Avenue in Plainville is now finished, according to Project Engineer Dayton Schroeter and his staff.
They also reported that:
• Concrete used so far is approximately 2,616 cu. yds. (2,000 cu m)
• Asphalt laid so far is approximately 36,376 tons (33,000 t)
ConnDOT said that approximately 77,162 tons (70,000 t) of asphalt might be down when the project is finished.
With the majority of the highway in place, Manafort only has one crew on dayshift to perform some work through the remaining winter months. But the contractor plans to increase construction crew numbers as the weather breaks in March, according to ConnDOT.
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 more than $35 million, with a forecast to completion being $43 million.
Stalwarts throughout the process in the ConnDOT District One Office have been David Lavado, district engineer; James Hamilton, assistant district engineer; Russell Wagoner, supervising engineer; and Dayton Schroeter, project engineer. Inspection services are provided by AECOM, with Steve Macdonald as resident engineer and Peter Blauvelt as chief inspector.
Waiting a Lifetime
Many people, especially drivers, have waited a long time to see this new highway, to facilitate moving heavy traffic in and out of Bristol — a tough go for decades of commuters.
“The new roadway relocates traffic onto a widened, two-lane each direction roadway with turning lanes at signalized intersections,” said Schroeter.
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.
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.
According to ConnDOT, General Contractor Manafort Brothers 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 allowed the contractor to have the eastern half of the project completed in 2009.
Gov. Jodi Rell of Connecticut has been a major proponent of the project.
“Extending Route 72 will not only help central Connecticut commuters, it will provide a strong boost to economic development for the City of Bristol, local downtown merchants and companies along this corridor,” she said, when ground was broken. “The people of Bristol — and the region — have been waiting for years for this extension, which I regard as an investment in the community and Connecticut’s overall economy.”
According to a local Hartford Courant reporter, state and local officials have wanted a new Route 72, “since before many of the people around here were born.”
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