Extending utilities up to the Flanders Road industrial area would cost an estimated $16.9 million, the consultant Fuss & O’Neill told the Groton Town Council Tuesday.
The town hired the company in 2005 to give an updated estimate of the cost of running water and sewer along Flanders Road, which has about 108 acres of developable land, according to the report.
The town also wanted to know whether it would be possible to bring the utilities across the Interstate 95 Bridge, and how that might be done.
Virgil Lloyd, a senior vice president with Fuss & O’Neill, said the company would advise hanging the water and sewer lines under the bridge, in between the girders that support the bridge itself. He said they would be sufficiently insulated from cold and movement.
The extension of utilities up Flanders Road is considered an economic development project to encourage industrial and manufacturing development, in light of the recent downsizing by large companies like Pfizer.
The council now must decide whether it wants to attempt a portion of the project or the full project, which could be done in four phases. The work would require a bond referendum that would need voter approval.
One open question is whether the project would yield enough new businesses and jobs for the town. Town Manager Mark Oefinger said he has not done that analysis recently, but could have it done in the future.
Property owners living along Flanders Road that don't have access to public water and sewer could be assessed a fee to connect to the lines if the utilities are extended in the future.
If done in phases according to the report by Fuss & O'Neill, the project would begin at the south and be extended north, in the following way:
- From Fort Hill Road to just below Ensign Drive. The area has water but does not have sewer. The cost of extending sewer is estimated at $5 million.
- From just below Ensign Drive to the northbound I-95 bridge. Extending water would cost an estimated $2.9 million; extending sewer would cost an estimated $2 million.
- From the northbound 1-95 Bridge through the southbound I-95 bridge crossing. Extending water would cost an estimated $900,000; extending sewer would cost an estimated $1 million.
- From the I-95 bridge crossing to Noank Ledyard Road. Extending water would cost an estimated $2.2 million; extending sewer would cost an estimated $2.9 million.
The project has been discussed for years, but most recently came to the forefront in Groton about two years ago, when about a half dozen people - mostly business owners - urged the council to make it a priority.
Tim Tylaska, who owns Mystic Business Park, LLC, an industrial park on Flanders Road, said at that time he housed about 30 businesses, some of which would like to expand but cannot due to the lack of public utilities.
Groton's Strategic Economic Development Plan in 2006 ranked the project first on its list of 13 economic priorities.