Berlin Sidewalk Start Date Delayed

BERLIN – Tangible construction work on the Flower St. sidewalks will not begin until mid-November, despite hopes that a rapid approval of funding Monday night would allow paving work to begin Nov. 1.

“We were hoping for a Nov. 1 start date, actually pushing dirt,” said Berlin Administrative Director Linda Bambary. “It’s probably going to be more like mid-November.”

Paving contractor American Paving will start submitting shop drawings, highly detailed technical renderings, by the beginning of the month, Bambary said, so work will be going forward, but it will not be visible to the townspeople.

If the weather remains mild, the work should be complete by 2008.

Other site work will go forward during the first few weeks of November. “We’ll start removing trees and they’ll start doing utility work,” Bambary said.

Before the paving work begins in earnest, the town will reach out to the neighborhood once more. “We will be holding another community meeting so the contractor can meet the residents,” Bambary said. “It’ll be within the next two weeks.”

The council approved $556,000 in costs Monday night for the sidewalk project. The council also approved the use of $226,000 from the town general fund to pay the costs not covered by the Community Development Block Grant or the funds already set aside in this year’s budget for the sidewalks. The paving is the costliest work, at $414,000. The already completed design and engineering work cost $20,000. The town will pay Verizon $15,000 to underground telephone lines and will pay any costs above that estimate after the work has been completed.

A contractor to take two large trees down, and grind all tree stumps, will cost $2,700. The Public Works department will take down the smaller trees.

Town Administrative Director Linda Bambary has included a 15-percent cushion for contingencies. Also included in the project construction costs is a 10-percent contingency for engineering services that could be needed when the work is underway if a problem occurs.

The contingency presented by Bambary, “seems like a huge amount of money,” Council Member Paula Lynch said Monday night. She added, “There’s over $100,000 contingency in here.”

“I don’t expect it to be that much,” Bambary said.

The contingency figures, which are not included in the $556,000 cost, were calculated with a industry standard percentage.