Replacing aging infrastructure will begin soon, part two

The construction site of the new recreation center of the UConn Storrs campus locates near the business school and across the B&N bookstore, planning to be completed at 2019. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus) 

For another summer the University of Connecticut will continue to see construction crews and heavy equipment work to update its aging underground infrastructure.  

This is part of a multipart project aimed to improve various aspects of the North, Northwest and Towers areas of campus.  

According to the agenda for the UConn Board of Trustee’s March meeting, this coming summer’s work will replace steam distribution, condensate return piping, electrical power distribution, telecommunication distribution, sanitary force main and install a new high-pressure fire main.

According to a UConn Today article from last year’s project, replacing the lines, pipes and ducts will save the university money and help prevent disruptions such as loss of power and closed buildings.

The university will be saving on the cost of producing and distributing steam with the new steam lines. Water will be saved with more efficient condensate lines and will return to the Central Utility Plan. Currently, the condensate feed into the drain.

“Having infrastructure problems literally costs us money every day,” UConn’s Executive Vice President for Administration and CFO Scott Jordan said in a press release from last summer.

The revised and final budget for the project is $49 million. It’s a continuation of last summer’s work, which involved replacing 9,000 linear feet of steam lines alongside North Eagleville Road and Route 195. This included parts of Towers residence area, the Dairy Bar and Lakeside Buildings.

This new stage of the project will focus west of North Eagleville Road to the intersection with Hillside road.

Director of Infrastructure and Program Management for University Planning Design and Construction Brian Gore said there were other improvements besides the underground infrastructure and multiple areas that will be replaced.

“The project will include safety upgrades to the roadway itself including a reduction of pedestrian crossings, improved lighting of pedestrian crossings, addition of bicycle lanes and improved roadway and sidewalk lighting for the entire length of North Eagleville Road,” Gore said.

The roads will be restricted to only one-way, local traffic from May 11 to December. The traffic will flow from east to west only, Gore said.

“Access to the religious houses, Lakeside Building and all University buildings on North Eagleville Road will be available at all times during construction. But during the period of construction, access will be from the Discovery Drive-end of the road,” Gore said. “Pedestrian access will be available at all times and detour signage will be provided.”

Although much of the construction will be carried during the summer to limit disruption to student lives, President Susan Herbst asked the UConn community to be understanding of the situation.

“We will have to ask for your patience as parts of roads and walkways temporarily become construction zones in order to do this critical work,” Herbst wrote on April 11 in her email addressed to the community.

UConn Spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said that many of the university’s 29 miles of water line on campus were built between 1914 and 1916. Most of the steam pipes are around 50 years old.

The aging infrastructure’s underground location makes it hard for Facility Operations to screen and prevent problems.

Most of accidents occur during the winter months and maintenance crews are unprepared to deal with the repairs.

The project will close for the winter in January and two-way traffic will be restored, Gore said.

Final landscaping will occur between May and June 2018.


Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at daniela.marulanda@uconn.edu.