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New curbing looks good on paper

So far, mostly signs and forms

SALISBURY — A casual observer might find the Main Street curbing project less than stimulating, at least thus far.

After all, the large sign announcing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project went up in mid-August. There’s been some digging. There are some orange barrels around.

There has in fact been a lot of activity in the last month or so. But it’s mostly been in the paperwork department.

First Selectman Curtis Rand showed this reporter the box filled with large looseleaf notebooks containing the documents that have been filed thus far.

Rand said that everything used in the project has to be inspected and approved by the state Department of Transportation (DOT).

Everything.

The paint that will eventually indicate the road shoulder.

The orange drums (55 of them).

“They had to find out the concrete mix the day the things were poured,” Rand said, talking about the large concrete units stacked on the south side of Main Street.

“They” is the contractor, Mather Corp. of Canton.

Helping out with the paper shuffle are Rand’s office, project designer Beta Group of Rocky Hill and the DOT itself.

“They’ve been very helpful,” Rand said.

The clock started ticking on the project on Aug. 9. Rand said the deadline is four months from that date.

“The drains are the really complicated part,” he said. “Once that’s done it should go pretty quickly.”

Mather plans to be “out of everyone’s way for the Fall Festival” this weekend.

“But the Monday after that, we could see some serious construction,” Rand said.

The new curbing for Main Street in Salisbury was originally part of a 2004 effort that replaced the sidewalks in the village of Lakeville. The curbing in the village of Salisbury was dropped for lack of funds that year.

The 2004 sidewalk project was funded by a state grant. The current plan’s funds — about $335,000 — come from the federal stimulus bill, passed by Congress in February 2009.

The Northwestern Connecticut Council of Governments (an organization of first selectmen from nine area towns) was allotted $1.1 million last October for “shovel-ready” projects, Rand said.

“That means projects with state right-of-ways established and plans ready to go,” he said at the time.

Salisbury was fortunate to have Beta engineer Jim Ford’s 2004 curbing plans quite literally on the shelf and ready to go, so when the towns of Sharon and Washington dropped out, Salisbury’s original per capita share of the $1.1 million — $244,000 — increased to about $396,000.

The plan now includes new sidewalks along the state right-of-way along Route 41/44 (Main Street), from Town Hall to a point just beyond the Ragamont building; new granite curbing along each side of Main Street; and elimination of the bituminous sidewalks directly adjacent to the curbing, which will be replaced by grass.

Rand said in October 2009 that the town can figure on spending about $363,000 in federal funds for the curbing. The state DOT will hang on to about $35,000 for administrative purposes.

Including the paperwork.

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