From the August 17, 2006 edition of The East Haven Courier.




Photo by Elizabeth Albright


Dodge Avenue Drags On, Mayor 'Fed Up'


-Jason J. Marchi, Courier Correspondent


EAST HAVEN, CT - It seems to be a never-ending battle over the Dodge Avenue reconstruction, and Mayor Joseph Maturo says he is "fed up" over the continuing problems.

After months of delays due to FAA safety regulations regarding commercial flights in and out of TWEED airport that caused the contractor, DeRita Construction of Middletown, to stop working, the Mayor was successful in getting construction resumed in hopes the road would be finished by the end of 2006.

However, on August 3, the Mayor learned that the contractor will install only 30 feet of drainage pipe per week in front of the homes along Dodge Avenue, which is the same slow rate of construction that progressed along the airport zone. "30 feet a week just does not pass muster with me or the town engineer," said Maturo.

In attempt to speed up construction, the Mayor asked Town Engineer Mario Ricozzi to set up another meeting between

the Department of Transportation, the contractor, and the town. "We'd like to see 50 to 60 feet of pipe installed per day," stated Ricozzi. "At 30 feet we week the job will never get done."

The reason for the slow construction rate has to do with a discrepancy between how the contractor wants to do the work and how the DOT wants the work done, according to Maturo. The contractor wants to use corrugated sheeting instead of trench boxes to hold back the walls of the excavation pits into which new drainage piping is being installed.

According to Ricozzi, both trench boxes and corrugated sheeting can be used to shore-up the walls of the excavation pits and both methods are OSHA approved. However, Ricozzi notes, "Sheeting is a much slower process because the excavation bucket has to be changed over to a hammer head to drive the sheeting after initial digging, and then you have to switch back to the excavation bucket to finish digging. Sheeting takes more time and costs more money and DOT does not want to pay the extra cost."

Although the Mayor felt that last week's meeting was not as successful as he had hoped for, the contractor did provide a timetable. "Except for some landscaping, they told us the road will be completed by Dec. 1," said Maturo.

"I called up the assistant commissioner of DOT. She said that she would definitely help in this effort of moving construction along faster than how it's been progressing the last two months," said Maturo. "I'm giving [DOT] the benefit of the doubt to deal the with contractor and to make sure that the work moves much faster."

"If things don't change I'm going to the Governor," said Maturo. "I'm going right to the top. Because the only clout I have in that project is political. It is a State job and a State hired company doing the job. As Mayor of the town, although it is our street, I have very little to say over the project."




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