Lauretti: City may start building new Constitution Blvd. section

The city may move forward on its own to build a road from Bridgeport Avenue into the city-owned Mas property, according to Mayor Mark Lauretti.

“I’m going to take a different tack,” Lauretti said, based on two companies looking for large parcels to construct light manufacturing facilities. “The city will take the initiative,” he said.

City officials have been looking for a private developer to build a new road from Bridgeport Avenue to Shelton Avenue (Route 108), connecting Constitution Boulevard South and North in the process.

The developer would receive the 66-acre Mas property, likely at a heavily discounted price, in return for constructing a roadway that might cost $5 million to $10 million. The developer then would be able to pursue mixed development on the Mas land.

Two companies seeking sites

However, Lauretti said, there now are two firms looking for land to locate facilities and no other properties in Shelton appear to be suitable. “We have users who can’t find locations that work, and [the Mas property] works,” he said.

The city could soon seek proposals for engineering services to build a road, he said, and begin the process as soon as later this year. Blasting work might take place in the initial phase.

“Rather than sit around and miss the [economic] cycle, we’ll move on it,” he said.

Lauretti said the city would have to commit at least a few million dollars to build the road into the Mas property, which is close to Bridgeport Avenue. One or two small parcels off Bridgeport Avenue would have to be purchased for the roadway as well.

Connecting the new section of Constitution Boulevard all the way to Shelton Avenue, likely by intersecting with Nells Rock Road close to the municipal dog park, may have to wait until a future phase.

Connecting to Bridgeport Avenue

On the Bridgeport Avenue side, the road likely would begin slightly south of the current intersection. Some ledge close to Bridgeport Avenue would need to be blasted to begin the connection.

State transportation officials likely will have a major say in what happens, with Bridgeport Avenue being a state road and because of the proximity of Route 8 and the highway’s Exit 13.

Lauretti said this new possible approach is needed now partly because some important light industrial land has been rezoned for other purposes by the Planning and Zoning Commission. He pointed to the Hawk’s Ridge project as an example of this, where 41 acres near Bridgeport Avenue will now be used mostly for residential homes.

“That’s my beef with Hawk’s Ridge,” he said. “We can put residential anywhere in this city and it works.”