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Connecticut Department of Transportation seeks Corps permit to place fill for work on New Britain-Hartford busway

Published Dec. 21, 2011

CONCORD, Mass. – The Connecticut Department of Transportation is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct work in waters of the United States in conjunction with the construction of the New Britain-Hartford Busway in New Britain, Newington, West Hartford and Hartford, Conn.


The Connecticut Department of Transportation is proposing to construct the New Britain-Hartford Busway, State Project No. 171-305, consisting of a dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) facility along a 9.4-mile long corridor between downtown New Britain and downtown Hartford. The project is located within the towns of New Britain, Newington, West Hartford and Hartford.


The purpose of the proposed project is to provide a dedicated Bus Rapid Transit facility between downtown New Britain and downtown Hartford to encourage mass transit ridership and therefore reduce vehicular traffic and highway congestion. The need for this project is demonstrated through the increasing congestion levels on I-84 and parallel roadways during the peak hour and the lack of sufficient interregional transit options and alternative modes of transportation.


From downtown New Britain to approximately Newington Junction in Newington, the Busway will be located within the abandoned Conrail right-of-way (ROW). From Newington Junction north, the Busway will be located within the active Amtrak railroad ROW. In the abandoned rail section, a multi-use trail for bicycle and pedestrian use will be constructed parallel to the Busway.


The dedicated roadway (Busway) will be reserved exclusively for buses, and will be two lanes wide, with one 12-foot lane in each direction. Additional lanes will be provided at station areas to allow nonstop buses to bypass stopped buses, and on and off ramps will be constructed to connect the Busway to the stations. Eleven stations will be constructed to serve Busway passengers. In addition, a new Amtrak Access Road (AAR) will be constructed along the east side of Amtrak's active rail line from Newington to Hartford.


The 4.45-mile-long AAR is necessary because the Busway will be constructed on the west side of Amtrak's active rail line, which Amtrak currently uses for track maintenance access. There will be four culvert replacements associated with the project, two for perennial streams and two for intermittent streams. This project also includes modifications to the existing track drainage system to promote positive drainage in the strip of ballast between the active Amtrak rail and the Busway.

The wetland impact will occur at 50 locations along the project corridor. The proposed work will permanently impact approximately 2.1 acres of inland wetlands and 7,108 linear feet of intermittent watercourses. The proposed work will result in temporary impact to approximately 0.50 acre of inland wetlands. The proposed project includes approximately 4.80 acres of wetland creation and 3.90 acres of wetland restoration as mitigation for the project's wetland impacts.


Permanent impacts to wetlands will occur from the following activities: the cut, fill, and footprint for the Busway; installation of access ramps and driveways; cut and fill for the proposed Amtrak Access road; development of a multi-use trail; construction of retaining walls and concrete barriers; and structures to convey surface water and drainage (including grass-lined ditches, water quality channels, reinforced concrete piping, and new and replacement culverts).


Temporary impacts to wetlands will result from grading activities, installation (and removal) of sheeting during construction of retaining walls, staging areas, water handling, and pipe-jacking activities to install culverts and reinforced concrete piping.


The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps of Engineers in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in United States waters, including wetlands. The public notice can be viewed on the Corps website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil. Select Regulatory/Permitting and then weekly public notices. Proposed work is detailed in the public notice.

Public comments on the Corps permit review (File # NAE-2008-953) should be forwarded no later than Jan. 20, 2012 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Susan Lee), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Susan Lee at 978-318-8494 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: susan.k.lee@usace.army.mil.

Tim Dugan

Release no. 2011-108