Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Good bridge news

Great news for those of you who want to cross the Salmon Brook bridge! I just received this email from the Farmington Valley Trails Council:

Dear Trail Friend,

Thanks to the truly extraordinary efforts of many dedicated people, construction is scheduled to begin on the Salmon Brook bridge during the week of July 21! This is an event we have all looked forward to and feared we might not see.

During construction, the trail will be CLOSED between Floydville Road and Hartford Avenue. While Hartford Avenue will be used as the main access for the construction, there will occasionally be equipment on Floydville Road.

We STRENUOUSLY encourage you to resist the lure of curiosity and stay away from the construction site because of the safety risks. Police will be monitoring the area, especially on weekends, but we really need everyone's cooperation on this issue.

We're certain you will understand and please SPREAD THE WORD.

Farm[i]ngton Valley Trails Council

So, there's the good news. But, don't hang out there because you'll get arrested. Also, be careful riding through Simsbury to get there, so as not to get injured by a poultry-based IED.


chillwill said...

whew! that's a looong way to bunny hop!

Brendan said...

We should add a link to the Farmington Valley Trails Council. I like them guys.

Murbike said...

As of today (July 3), their site has not been updated with this news...

Brendan said...

Well, they are an all volunteer organization as far as I know.

The email isn't a fabrication. I truly got it yesterday morning.

chillwill said...

i added thier link...that email better be real dude!

Brendan said...

Here's a much longer email that I just received:

from FVGreenway
to Everyone FVTC
date Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 4:44 PM
subject [FVTC] UPDATE: Salmon Brook Bridge Project
mailing list Filter messages from this mailing list

hide details 4:44 PM (9 minutes ago)


The Farmington Valley Trails Council
P. O. Box 576
Tariffville, Connecticut 06081

July 3, 2008

As early as July 21st, construction will begin on the Salmon Brook Bridge, a disused 300-foot long railroad trestle only a few yards south of RT 189 overlooking Granbrook Park in East Granby. Completion of the bridge, scheduled for late fall, will fill the only major gap left in the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail stretching 21 miles from southern Farmington to the Massachusetts border. The .37-mile section in Suffield is still unpaved, but that looks good for the near future as well. This is a rather lengthy thanks to all of those who helped make it possible.

The story of this success is a 16-year odyssey. It was conceived that long ago. Funding was in place over six years ago but after years of shuffling paper ConnDOT finally approved a design to rehabilitate the bridge in the spring of 2007. The paving of the trail was approved and finished this spring by King Construction, but the bridge was so over budget that the March 20 bids were rejected. At this time the Farmington Valley Trails Council initiated the Salmon Brook Bridge Fund and raised about $16,000 which we matched from our treasury.

An insidious pattern of receiving 80% federal funds and then waiting years for design and approval from DOT has kept Farmington Valley towns behind the eight ball as costs rise and their 20% portion balloons. The bridge redesign took a year. It essentially approved the deletion of the seating bump-outs and changed the fancy fencing into black chain link. It did include $100,000 additional funding, but much of that went to the redesign itself. It went to bid once again on April 9, 2008. The low bid was from NJR at $590,000. Inflation and time insured that this new bid came in, once again, higher by approximately $170,000 above the now $36,000 we had originally pledged to the town. That shortfall was 29% of the project cost and $36 for every citizen of the town.

This amount was an impossible per capita expenditure for a small town. We met with First Selectman Jim Hayden and Town Engineer Charlie Francis. According to State regulations, the town had 45 days to accept or reject the bids. Working with the low bidder, East Granby was able to extend the deadline to August 1, 2008. We all knew that if we could not come up with the shortfall the project would likely founder, and the trail would never be completed.

Our local politicians and agencies went to work to find the money. Kudos to Tom Maziarz at the Capital Region Council of Governments, who has been a stalwart fighter for the trail system. He met with Hartford and got them to agree to re-direct some federal STP (Surface Transportation Program) grant money that would have gone unused in calendar 2008. Suddenly the town had 80% or $136,000 toward the goal. We once again opened the Salmon Brook Bridge Fund and to date we have raised in cash and pledges about $17,000. At our last board meeting we voted unanimously to augment any additional funds raised to the total amount of the town’s shortfall of $34,000. Just recently, the town voted down two budgets and a school, and it was unlikely that a referendum seeking that amount of money would have passed. I was proud to write a letter confirming our intentions to East Granby. We continue to have the fund open, and donations are still needed so that we don’t draw down our treasury!
to a c
ritical point. Checks can be made to “FVTC”.

Then last week at the 11th hour the project engineers at DOT sent an email to Charlie Francis stating that the concrete subcontractor specified by the low bidder NJR, was not certified to install rebar. This after DOT had all the documents since May 15th. Everyone knew that the bureaucracy of credentialing and endless foot-dragging at DOT is such that the project was once again in serious peril. With only 2 weeks to work with we contacted Sen. John Kissel, Rep. Ruth Fahrbach and Rep. Richard Ferrari of East Granby, Rep. David McCluskey of West Hartford and Simsbury Rep. Linda Schofield; all dedicated to getting the trail built. CRCOG and other parties were also involved on putting direct pressure on the bosses of the project engineers at DOT.

If there was ever evidence that political pressure works on a bureaucracy then this is it. Last Friday the 27th of June, the subcontractor was suddenly certified for rebar, and DOT’s letter authorizing the Town to award the contract also appeared. The East Granby Board of Finance and the Board of Selectmen will meet on July 16th but as the FVTC has secured the additional funding it is unlikely anyone will have objections to the project.

>From both myself and all of our board of directors I thank all of you who have helped build the bridge and make the Farmington Valley one of the very few regions in the Northeast traversed by a world-class multi-use greenway.

Fvtc mailing list

Brendan said...

And, for those who still don't believe me, there's a mention of it the CCBA newsletter that just showed up in my inbox.