State Halts Natural Gas Roadworks on South Avenue, Officials Say


Construction crews at South Avenue and Bank Street on Nov. 20, 2018. Credit: Michael Dinan

State officials have halted the roadworks on South Avenue overseen by Eversource as part of the natural gas main installation, and it won’t resume until midweek next week at the earliest, officials said Tuesday.

A small stretch of the main at Bank Street “is posing a problem for them [Eversource and Ferreira Construction] with the state,” according to New Canaan Public Works Director Tiger Mann.

“The material that they are replacing the trench with is wet—wetter than the state would like,” Mann told members of the Board of Selectmen during their regular meeting. 

“It has been raining every other day, so the material stockpiles are wet and there is not much that the contractor can do for it,” he said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. 

The parties have a meeting next week and Eversource officials hope to resume their work on Tuesday, Mann said. The rest of this week is out because the state doesn’t allow work the day before or after a holiday (both Bank Street and South Avenue are state roads).

“We are pushing winter and the fact that the asphalt plants will closing Dec. 15 or thereabouts, so that is a concern,” Mann said. “And the they have a stretch of the main to do at Lakeview Avenue and Little Brook [Road], across 123. Thankfully Lakeview and Little Brook are under our control. But Little Brook does serve a school, East School, and there are concerns with traffic there and then we have concerns with people getting frustrated in construction zones and actually passing through the construction zone and then running red lights, going through intersections while kids are crossing, things of that nature that are occurring now just out of general frustration, so asking motorists to be a little bit more understanding.”

The comments came after Selectman Nick Williams asked about the construction schedule updates provided by Eversource as Mann came before the Board on a completely separate matter involving handrails at Waveny.

The selectmen asked Mann who writes the construction updates posted to the town website (Eversource), whether it may be posted in a way that gives residents less dense, more easily digestible information (if Eversource can provide that, yes) and whether message boards would help with frustrated drivers (maybe). 

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan noted that the town cannot tell the utility or construction company what to do on state roads. On roads such as Routes 106, 123 and 123 crews are “subject to state rules” that are “totally inflexible,” Moynihan said.

“We have been flexible,” he said. “We would rather them not start at 8:30 [a.m.] so that they do not disrupt the morning rush hour.”

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