Monday, March 01, 2021

Local News

Design Issues, Field Conditions Delay Route 146 Seawall Project in Branford

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Work on the extensive state project began in September 2020 and was originally scheduled for completion by May 31, 2021. Primarily due to issues which have developed with attempted cofferdam installation to hold back waters of Long Island Sound, progress on the project is now being halted and won't resume until September, 2021. Once work resumes, the new anticipated completion date will be May, 2022.

Pam Johnson/The Sound

Work on the extensive state project began in September 2020 and was originally scheduled for completion by May 31, 2021. Primarily due to issues which have developed with attempted cofferdam installation to hold back waters of Long Island Sound, progress on the project is now being halted and won't resume until September, 2021. Once work resumes, the new anticipated completion date will be May, 2022. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)

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The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has notified the Town of Branford that design issues and unforseen field conditions will cause a significant delay in the seawall replacement project on Route 146 (Limewood Avenue), viewed here near its intersection with Sybil Avenue. 

Pam Johnson/The Sound

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has notified the Town of Branford that design issues and unforseen field conditions will cause a significant delay in the seawall replacement project on Route 146 (Limewood Avenue), viewed here near its intersection with Sybil Avenue. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)

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As a result of halting the project for now, CTDOT will be restoring the site to its pre-construction configuration in time for the summer months, to be completed by May 31, 2021. The site restoration will include placing a temporary barrier between the road and shore, and bringing back two lanes of traffic on this stretch of about 400 feet along Route 146 that's currently down to one lane for motorists, with traffic signals for alternating use.

Pam Johnson/The Sound

As a result of halting the project for now, CTDOT will be restoring the site to its pre-construction configuration in time for the summer months, to be completed by May 31, 2021. The site restoration will include placing a temporary barrier between the road and shore, and bringing back two lanes of traffic on this stretch of about 400 feet along Route 146 that's currently down to one lane for motorists, with traffic signals for alternating use. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has notified the Town of Branford that design issues and unforeseen field conditions will cause a significant delay in the seawall replacement project on Route 146 (Limewood Avenue).

Work on the extensive state project began in September 2020 and was originally scheduled for completion by May 31, 2021. Primarily due to issues which have developed with attempted cofferdam installation to hold back waters of Long Island Sound, progress on the project is now being halted and won't resume until September, 2021. Once work resumes, the new anticipated completion date will be May, 2022.

On Friday, Feb. 19, Town of Branford Engineer John Hoefferle confirmed for Zip06/The Sound that the Town received an update from CTDOT on Feb. 17 with news of the project delay, and plans for temporarily restoring the area to pre-construction status. Hoefferle said the Town had been aware that the seawall construction phase had been encountering some difficulties with the cofferdams.

"The solutions that they had weren't really working; and they were working on different designs to try to solve that problem," said Hoefferele. "They're also working under a seasonal restriction --  the Town has asked they not have construction during the summer months."

As a result of halting the project for now, CTDOT will be restoring the site to its pre-construction configuration in time for the summer months, to be completed by May 31, 2021.  The site restoration will include placing a temporary barrier between the road and shore, and bringing back two lanes of traffic on a stretch of about 400 feet along Route 146 that's currently down to one lane for motorists, with traffic signals for alternating use.

Zip06/The Sound received confirmation of the change in plans from Kevin Nursick of the CTDOT Communications Office, via email, on Feb. 19.

"Unfortunately, due to design issues and unforeseen conditions in the field it has been determined that a new design aspect will be needed to complete this project. With that being said, the project will not be completed before the original contract completion date of 5/31/2021. We are currently developing a plan to reestablish the area both on the road side and the shore side to the original condition prior to construction to be completed by May 31, 2021, and then coming back in the Fall to construct the wall," Nursick noted.

Construction of the wall, phase one of the four-phase project, encountered problems while work was underway to install a temporary water handling cofferdam needed to create a seawall construction zone, according to information shared by Nursick. The original cofferdam design, using metal sheet piles, could not be installed after it was determined the piles could not be driven to the needed design depth, due to rock.

Additionally, an alternate cofferdam design which was attempted, using sandbags, resulted in multiple failures as it could not stand the wave action during storms.

Currently, a subsurface investigation is underway to determine bedrock elevation of the areas for the new seawall and handling water cofferdam, according to CTDOT.

Another problem encountered during the project was the discovery of an unanticipated existing seawall and rubble. The existing wall and rubble were found under the roadway in the shoulder of Route 146, at a point where plans call for the installation of an earth retaining system to allow for excavation for the seawall construction.

The next steps at the project site will be to remove the unanticipated seawall and rubble and to temporarily restore the entire area to its pre-construction configuration until the project resumes construction in September 2021.

In addition to the replacement of the existing seawall between Sybil Avenue and Waverly Road, the project involves roadway reconstruction and minor drainage work, replacement of the existing revetment (stone barrier) for slope protection, and pedestrian safety improvements, including the addition of sidewalk. The contract was awarded to C.J. Fucci, Inc.(New Haven) at $5,824,577.



Pam Johnson covers news for Branford and North Branford for Zip06. Email Pam at p.johnson@shorepublishing.com.

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