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09/29/2023 04:48 PM

North Haven Voters Approve $6.4 Million Appropriation for ‘Critical’ Infrastructure


Town electors approved an appropriation of $6,407,000 for critical infrastructure improvements at the Annual Town Meeting in North Haven on Sept. 18.

The approved monies will go to repairs and improvements on various town roads and bridges, including Kings Highway, Pool Road, and Hartford Turnpike. Funds will also go toward the paving of various town roadways.

The specific improvement at Kings Highway concerns a bridge replacement at the base of the highway and Mount Carmel Avenue, whose road had collapsed twice in previous heavy storms, including Hurricane Ida in 2021. Past structure repairs have been temporary fixes, although the appropriations should support a permanent solution.

“The substructure of the road has to be refortified to protect the integrity of that road,” said First Selectman Michael Freda. “The last thing we a car to fall through that road and then go into the river that goes under the road.”

Washout moving upstream and downstream along the bridge and its road has also had a negative impact on several neighboring homes, including Christine Road, Todd Drive South, and Mount Carmel, according to Freda.

“Those people get flooded when that road washes out and that road collapses,” said Freda. “Then we have an upstream impact on Mount Carmel where the water accumulates even higher up there and, when the water accumulates higher up there, the downstream effect floods Hartford Turnpike, a portion of Christine, [and] Todd Drive South. So that had to be done.”

Recently, worsening storms have led to increased flooding along Pool Road for years, resulting in drainage issues. Recognizing the hazard this caused for motorists, the town’s engineers determined a fix.

“When it floods, cars tend to hydroplane when going through that water at Pool Road,” said Freda. “Our engineers have figured out the solution: to take that water out through the west side of Pool Road, of which the town has right of way, improve that drainage, and deposit it out into larger draining repositories on Route Five on Washington Avenue.”

The third approved appropriation will go toward fixing a headwall at the corner of Hartford Turnpike and Marlin Drive. The concrete headwall, which has a drainage pipe running through, is starting to disintegrate, said Freda.

“If this is not addressed and fixed, it will cause flooding on Marlin Drive, it will cause water to back up and flood Hartford Turnpike, and then cause downstream problems on Sherwood Drive,” he said.

The $6.4 million approved by town electors will support numerous parts of the improvements, from design, demolition, and construction to removal of waste materials, traffic protection, and work fees, among others.

While $6.4 million was approved by electors, Freda said the town has “the ability to get a significant amount of grant money” that would reduce the town’s share of costs for improvement by nearly half of what was initially appropriated. According to the language of the Board of Finance’s resolution, “the total amount of bonds issued shall be reduced by the amount of grants and other funds...anticipated to be approximately $3,272,000.”

Grants for improvements will be from state programs of the Department of Transportation (DOT). For Kings Highway, the town is looking to receive a grant from the Local Bridge Program of the DOT, while Pool Road is hoped to receive funding from the department’s Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program. The headwall project at Hartford Turnpike will not receive a grant and instead be paid for by the town at a cost of $140,000.