Kent transport

Kent’s Streetscape project takes concrete step forward as town seeks contractor

KENT — Despite a recent delay, the city’s streetscape project — which began 12 years ago — is moving forward again. The city is asking for bids for the construction work and they are due by the end of the month.

The approximately $3 million project involves replacing approximately 11,000 linear feet of sidewalks in the city.

An application package, which is now posted on the city and state websites, was sent out in early February, with a February 28 deadline. On that date at 10 a.m., city officials will hold a public opening at City Hall, where all bids will be read aloud.


Kent First Selectman Jean Speck said she looks forward to the project’s completion.

“We’ve had a really, really tough two years because of the pandemic and I can’t think of a better summer or fall to hopefully have at least a first phase of this project underway,” she said. “Making visible forward movement that will make sense to residents and visitors alike – that’s exciting.”

Delays

The application package was supposed to come out last summer, but it stalled after being sent to the state Department of Transportation for review.

The DOT said the city needed to obtain three permanent easements for construction work at St. Andrew’s Parish on North Main Street, for an area of ​​99 square feet.

“(The church) gives us permanent access so that we can install, repair, maintain and/or replace sidewalks there,” she added.

While construction is expected to start over the next few months, many variables can delay it, such as heavy rain.

Speck said she hopes the work will be completed by the summer, “which is the most important time for our businesses.”

She said the public should access sidewalks during construction.

“They need to make sure stores are accessible,” Speck added.

Phases, subsidies

The application package that has been sent out is for Phase 1 of the project – which is Route 7 from the Soldiers Monument to the Railway Tracks. On the east side of the street, the works extend to the pedestrian crossing. On the west side, it ends at the Fife ‘n Drum Restaurant & Inn parking lot, where a new pedestrian crossing will be installed.

Phase 2, which is still in its early stages, will include Route 7 south of the Soldiers Monument, to Kent Greenhouse & Gardens, and Route 341 east on the south side of the street, which is on the side of the Soldiers’ Barracks. firefighters. On the north side it will run to the extension of Maple Street and terminate at the Stuart Farm Apartments, and include the south side of Lane Street.

The company that will carry out the work will communicate a schedule to the municipality.

“We’ll start releasing a lot more information once there’s a contractor in place,” Speck said.

The idea for the project began with Speck’s predecessor – former Kent First Selectman Bruce Adams.

Adams, who now lives in Washington, said he was able to secure three grants for the city, which will now be used for the project. These are the $400,000 CT Community Connectivity Grant from the State Department of Transportation; a $500,000 Main Street Investment Fund grant from the state Department of Housing; and a $2.35 million Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant, also from DOT.

“In combination, these three grants can do that job, and more,” said Adams, who served as Kent’s first manager for 10 years, starting in 2009.

Adams said Kent is a “wonderful town” as it is, but one area that is “severely lacking in many ways is the town center infrastructure – particularly the pavements”.

He said he hopes concrete will be used for the streets, as opposed to asphalt, which they are made of now.

“Asphalt looks good when new – nice and dark black – but it fades quickly,” Adams said. “It just doesn’t hold as well as concrete. It is peeling and flaking. The snowplows gauge it. It also looks cheap.

“Totally Behind Them”

He said the new sidewalks will benefit the city on many fronts.

“Kent is jam-packed on a sunny summer weekend, and they need those pavements aesthetically,” Adams said. “They also need it a lot from a safety perspective, because there are a lot of tripping hazards, and from a directional perspective to get the sidewalks to the right places.”

Bruce, who lived in Kent for 34 years, said he had very strong feelings for the town.

“I’m totally behind them,” he said. “It will make it an even more attractive city center than it already is.”

The Streetscape Committee will review the bids after they are received and make a recommendation to the Selection Committee, which will then select the bidder to be awarded the project. The next special meeting of the streetscape construction sub-committee will take place on March 7 at 5:30 p.m.