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By the end of 2019, residents are going to need to pick a new landmark for the top of the Route 1 hill in Guilford. Representatives of the Connecticut Water Company (CWC) recently confirmed that the old water storage tank at the intersection of Route 1 and Tanner Marsh Road will be demolished this year.
CWC Project Engineering Manager James Casagrande spoke to the Board of Selectmen (BOS) on Feb. 4 about all of the projects CWC has lined up for Guilford this year. Casagrande reviewed about a half dozen projects, all of which total a nearly $6- to $7 million investment in town this calendar year. The first thing on the to-do list is the water tank.
“The tank is way past its usable life,” he said. “We haven’t actually made use of it in the system for quite a few years. We just finished construction of a new tank in Madison where we spent a significant amount of capital, so this tank is now obsolete.”
The elimination of this tank was somewhat expected after the CWC recently wrapped up construction on a new 1.32 million gallon tank in Madison off of Ridge Road. However, there is no exact date for removal of the Guilford tank and Casagrande said CWC will share more information before work begins.
“To make everyone aware, that tank is on Town of Guilford property,” he said. “We plan to remove that late in the year. We are going to circulate a fact sheet and do a little PR and get the message out that we do plan on removing that tank and why we are going to be taking it down.”
Casagrande said the removal should take about a month.
“It should be a minor disturbance to local traffic, but maybe a major attraction though,” he said.
However, it was not the water tank removal project that drew the most concern from selectmen. This year, the CWC has plans to replace the water main that starts at the water tower and travels down Boston Street, through the center of town, down Water Street, and across the bridge all the way to Jacobs Lane.
“It’s a large project—it’s nearly 2 miles of main and about $3.5 million,” Casagrande said. “Boston Street has been identified as a limiting factor in our system for fire protection to this immediate area so this is part of our water infrastructure projects that we continuously do.”
The CWC is currently waiting for comment back from the Department of Transportation (DOT) because the main is under state roads. Casagrande said once DOT responds, then the CWC can look at design approach and scheduling.
The BOS meeting was the first time some of the selectmen had heard of the project. Selectman Sandy Ruoff asked for confirmation that this is the main that runs through the center of town at the southern end of the Green. Casagrande said yes. Ruoff asked if the CWC was looking to do a summer construction. Casagrande said work would progress through the summer. Ruoff’s facial expression to that response made the whole room laugh.
“The center of town is busy year-round, but I honestly believe summer is the busiest season,” she said.
Casagrande said he knows it’s a big project and that is why CWC is getting in front of the town now to talk about the project. Selectmen asked if there could be public information sessions or presentations from the CWC and DOT for residents.
“We know it’s a state road, but that is going to impact our community,” said Selectman Charlie Havrda. “I mean to Sandy’s point, the tank is going to be an interesting conversation point, but the Boston Street construction, in the summertime, that is going to take some extreme coordination.”
Casagrande said he understands the CWC is looking at doing a lot of projects in town this year and that coordination and communication will be key. Thus far there are no formal start dates for any of the projects and approvals are still needed, but Havrda made it pretty clear that this won’t all be smooth sailing.
“Oh, I am looking forward to the public hearings,” he said with a laugh.
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