Summer in Norwalk always features the pounding of jackhammers and the sight of construction crews, and this year will be no different.
Norwalk City Engineer James Sawyer said four major projects will be continuing in the coming months.
In the last month, the city has completed about $100,000 worth of sidewalk construction. The work was done for property owners who were notified their sidewalks were in need of repair last year. Those property owners had until April to do the work themselves before the city had its contractor, Mike Pieples of Maple City Concrete, do the work. The property owners will then be billed for the work and have the option to pay it off up front or through property taxes.
Sawyer had high praise for Pieples work, saying he went "above and beyond the call of duty."
This year will mark the fourth year of the sidewalk program under Mayor Sue Lesch's administration. In the past, the city has selected a quadrant and determined which sidewalks were in need of repair. Sawyer said this year, the city's focus will shift away from repair and examine properties that do not have sidewalks in an effort to connect sidewalks across the city.
Sawyer warned property owners that the change in focus will not absolve those with dangerous sidewalks from the responsibility to repair them.
"The city is taking proactive approach ... but if the sidewalk is a danger to community, (the property owner) has an obligation. If he fails to meet it, we'll notify him."
Whittlesey and League Intersection:
On Monday, physical construction work will begin on this intersection. The city will be adding a right turn lane and will create a separate left turn only lane and a straight road, which will actually line up with the straight road across the intersection.
"This will make for a smoother and safer intersection," Sawyer said.
He suggested all drivers who can, find an alternate route and avoid the intersection through June 8. Flaggers and a police officer will be on hand to direct traffic and lanes will be clearly marked, however. The engineer urged drivers who cannot find alternate routes to use "caution and patience."
The project will end up costing the city $100,000, but Sawyer said the thick asphalt the city is installing will help reduce the heavy wear and tear caused by trucks that use the route.
The long awaited Cline Street extension project will also kick off on Monday. Sawyer said Cline Street, Gallup Avenue and Westwind Drive would all remain open during the construction, adding if one had to be closed the other two roads will remain open.
The $313,000 project will add curbs and gutters to the defacto road that cuts through the parking lots, with the goal to divert traffic off U.S. 250.
"We will actually define the road. There will be better signage and improved traffic flow," Sawyer said.
The intersection at Westwind Drive and Cline Street, near Wal-Mart, will also be moved further west in order to improve drivers line of sight.
The city also plans to improve Cline Street headed toward League Street. Considered Phase II of the Cline Street project, Sawyer estimates it will cost another $300,000 to $400,000 to add new curbs, gutters, storm sewers and a water line from the current end of Cline Street to about Union Street.
Sawyer said he hopes to be able to do the entire street to League in just three phases, but added that was "subject to change."
The long construction project at the spillway is coming to end. Suburban Materials and Construction Inc. out of Brunswick, was supposed to complete most of the concrete dissipater by Jan. 2. However, delays in clean up and repairs have meant equipment has been out at the spillway for months it was moved on Wednesday, when the contractor finally became "more responsive to (the city's) discussion of urgency," Sawyer said.
Some small concrete work and site restoration remains and should be completed by the end of the May.
The project, which was contracted for about $500,000, will serve to lessen the force at which the water hits the creek bed and therefore reduce the effects of erosion.
"It's a structure that absorbs the destructive energy of the water to lessen the damage of erosion downstream," he said.