Faced with Prospect of Natural Gas Coming to Town, Officials Change Re-Paving Plan

Facing the prospect that the utility company at some point may tear up asphalt to install natural gas lines, officials on Tuesday chose a new set of town roads to be paved as part New Canaan’s annual maintenance program.

Spring Water Lane in New Canaan. Credit: Michael Dinan

Because natural gas would come into town from Stamford by way of Davenport Ridge and Jelliff Mill Roads, the streets along the lines’ route—including Spring Water Lane, Adams Lane and Hillcrest Road—will not be paved just now, as decided by the Board of Selectmen in approving a $661,000 contract last month.

Instead, a new project that covers approximately the same square footage—a combination of White Birch Road and three stretches of Ponus Ridge—will be substituted in, following a unanimous vote by the selectmen at their regular meeting.

“I guess if I am a resident of Spring Water or Adams or Hillcrest, the natural question is—and I think this would be more directed at the first selectman than anyone else—is: What do we think about timing?” Selectman Nick Williams said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “Because these folks have waited once before and now they are going to be asked to wait again.”

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said Williams had voiced “one of our big concerns.”

“It’s a tough pill to swallow for those folks,” Mallozzi said.

Certain the project would go forward, the town had notified the neighborhood about the upcoming paving.

Yet “I think as a town we have to look at the greater benefit that might be attainable and hoping that they will be patient,” he said.

Should Eversource fail to install natural gas lines into New Canaan by its stated goal of August 2018, then the town will re-prioritize the paving of Spring Water Lane and the other roads.

Members of the town Utilities Commission earlier this month disclosed that Eversource had recently restarted conversations about bringing natural gas to New Canaan.

Wiliams during the selectmen meeting said the utility company had “reneged” on a Memorandum of Understanding at the time.

“The good news is that we have new folks at Eversource that seem amenable to going forward, which is great,” he said.

In the meantime, Ponus Ridge is to be re-paved along three stretches that need it: Trinity Pass to Lost District Drive, Dan’s Highway to Clearview Lane and Bartling to Frogtown Road.

With Selectman Beth Jones, Mallozzi and Williams voted 3-0 in favor of amending the contract with a Norwalk-based paving company.

Responding to a question from Jones, Tiger Mann, director of the Department of Public Works, said that those stretches of Ponus lie in between pieces that already have been repaved.

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