Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Vernon hoping feds will spring $2.5 million for roadwork

By Jason Rowe
Journal Inquirer
December 7, 2006

VERNON - An ongoing road reconstruction project could get a boost from as much as $2.5 million in federal highway funding.

On Tuesday, the Town Council authorized Town Administrator Christopher Clark to prepare an application for submission to the Capitol Region Council of Governments, which has been charged with distributing roughly $16 million in federal funds through the Surface Transportation Program.

That money would go toward the reconstruction of the southern end of Bolton Road, from just north of Wildwood Road to the Bolton town line.

Reconstruction work on the 4,650-foot stretch of the roadway is scheduled to begin during the 2009 construction season, according to a schedule recently released by the town and Cardinal Engineering of Meriden, the company hired to oversee the project.

In a Nov. 29 memorandum to Mayor Ellen L. Marmer, Clark wrote that town officials looked at both Dart Hill Road and Bolton Road before deciding the latter would better fit into CRCOG's criteria for inclusion in the program.

According to information posted on CRCOG's Web site, money from the STP-Urban program would be used primarily to fund traditional roadway improvement projects that "substantially improve the physical condition of our roads and bridges and correct existing traffic problems related to congestion, safety, and geometry."

Each potential project is rated on a point system based on the extent of work proposed.

Work relating to structural improvements, traffic improvements, and regional significance receive the highest points.

And pavement rehabilitation projects using STP-Urban funds will be primarily restricted to arterial roadways, such as Bolton Road.

When the townwide road reconstruction project was developed in summer 2004, the entire reconstruction of Bolton Road was expected to cost slightly more than $1.93 million.

But the increasing costs of construction materials have pushed that number higher, and each town is allowed to apply for a maximum of $2.5 million in projects, Clark wrote.

And each community must provide 10 percent in matching funds under the grant.

If Vernon were to receive all the money it is requesting, the local match would be about $250,000, Clark wrote.

The matching funds would come out of the budget for the $19.2 million road reconstruction project approved by voters in November 2004, Clark wrote.

The deadline for submitting the application is Jan. 17, officials said.

During an October progress report on the road project, Clark told Marmer and the Town Council that the town would seek grants to help defray the cost of the road project, which includes roughly 30 roads and bridges.

"The administration will continue to look for opportunities to provide for other funding sources for other projects where applicable," wrote Clark, who added that the town expects to seek other grants for improvements to High and Prospect streets.

Reconstruction work on the northern section of Bolton Road - including the Bolton Road bridge over the Tankerhoosen River - got under way this year and traffic had been detoured around the work area throughout the summer and fall.

©Journal Inquirer 2006