Waterbury homeowners oppose plan to move construction materials to their neighborhood

WATERBURY -- Homeowners on Waterbury's Pearl Lake Road said they're already feeling the effects of the ongoing construction on I-84. During the widening project, drivers have been using their road as a cut through to avoid the highway traffic.

"It can take me 10 to 15 minutes to get out of this street to go to work at 7 o'clock in the morning and when we come home it's just terrible," explained Joe Cegelka, who has owned his home on Pearl Lake Road for more than 30 years.

Lisa Lessard, who's owned her home for around 10 years, said, "Since the construction started on I-84, we’ve had nothing but nightmares. We on Pearl Lake Road now call this the ‘highway from hell.’”

These homeowners now fear that nightmare will get even worse—by up to 80 trucks a day.

The contractor for the project, I-84 Constructors, has applied for a special permit to transport and store materials at a former sand and gravel business site on Pearl Lake Road. A representative from I-84 constructors said the permitted site where they are currently stockpiling materials on Harpers Ferry Road is reaching capacity. The sites are about a mile apart.

On the permit application, I-84 Constructors is asking to use the site to stockpile material for a period of up to two years then restore the site to its pre-permit condition. The application includes a maximum of 40 truck arrivals and 40 departures per day.

Lessard said, “We cannot have this happen for our homeowners. Nobody is pleased about this. They’re furious beyond belief.”

Homeowners are concerned about the additional traffic, the dust those trucks may leave behind, and the wear and tear on their road.

“Find someplace else to put it. The city has other places,” said Cegelka.

These homeowners are contacting their neighbors to let them know about the pending application and what it could mean for their neighborhood. They already have the support of the Mohawk Park Civic Club, which opposes the plan as well.

Club President Antoinette D’Almeida said, “Right down the street from here we have a housing project. We have children, children going to school. We have elderly down here. Just the fumes, the environment, the impact on this area is atrocious.”

She added, “It’s a very sad situation that they picked this poor road.”

The city’s zoning board still has to approve the special permit. There is a public hearing scheduled for July 18 at City Hall at 7:00 p.m.