Delayed Train Station Renovation Promised in Clinton
It’s official: The long-planned (and delayed) upgrade, as well as increased train service, to Clinton’s train station will begin this week, according to a post by First Selectman Christine Goupil on the town website on May 6. The announcement comes after a Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting on May 1 where Goupil confirmed the groundbreaking would be soon.
The cost of the project is $12 million, and construction is estimated to be completed around January 2021. The post said that more updates will be announced on the town’s website and social media outlets.
“This is going to be phenomenal for Clinton,” Goupil said at the BOS meeting.
Construction firm Lawrence Brunoli, Inc., of Farmington was awarded the project.
The improvements to the station include a pedestrian bridge over the tracks with stair towers and elevators, increased parking, lighting improvements, a pickup and drop-off zone, and a bike shelter. At the BOS meeting Goupil also said the town would continue meeting with the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) to discuss where a bus stop at the site would go. Besides the physical upgrades, the station should also see six to eight more trains added to the schedule as well.
The improvements to the train station in Clinton have been a long time coming, and almost didn’t happen this year. DOT officials presented the planned upgrades to the train station in October 2017 and the project was originally slated to begin in March 2018 and be finished by the end of 2019. The project was put on hold in January 2018, however, due to state budget cuts. The train station upgrades were to cost $18 million and be paid for by the state.
Other stations along the Shoreline East have received a second round of upgrades at their stations before Clinton was able to receive a first round.
In August 2018, the town announced that the upgrades would begin in spring 2019, but Goupil said in December 2018 the funding for the project almost disappeared. According to Goupil, after many meetings with the state, she was able to secure the funding for the project to finally start.
Besides the obvious benefit of increased service for commuters, some also see a link between improving the train station and increasing economic development. The train station is a short walk from Route 1 and also abuts the old Unilever property, which has been vacant since 2012. The train station is also a short distance down Route 81 from the old Morgan School property that is being developed into Indian River Landing.
Last fall a study on potential ways the town could improve Route 81 suggested adding sidewalks, which if built could make walking between the train station and the site a possibility. No formal plans to upgrade Route 81 or Route 1 are on the table currently.
In the past, Goupil has said upgrades to the train station were a major focus point of the town.
“This is the heart of our commercial and arts center of our town and adjacent to the former Unilever factory. This facility, at over 250,000 of existing building square footage and over 20 acres of surrounding property, represents one of the largest redevelopment opportunities anywhere along the Shore Line East corridor,” Goupil said. “We have identified this property, and the planned improvements to the train station, as key components to revitalization in our 2015 Plan of Conservation & Development.”