Broad Brook Brewery Work Resumes

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Photo by Lester Smith

Soil dribbles from the bucket as the excavator scoops up another load and swings around to deposit it in a pile. The front loader seen in the rear then moves the pile out of the way. This originally-unplanned work on the Broad Brook Brewery construction project on South Street was required to solve a problem that had led to a stop-work order from the Suffield building inspector.

October 6 and 7, after many months of idleness at the construction site, excavation work was under way at the incomplete Broad Brook Brewery on South Street. Proprietor Eric Mance was there to consult with another contractor as the back hoe from Diversified Services, an Enfield company, did its work. CBYD markings had been placed a few days before, and several utilities had come in to flag their cables and pipes.

By the end of the day, there was a big ditch along most of the east and north sides of the building, about seven feet deep and four feet across the bottom, tapering back up to grade level. With that, the soil pressure against the tall foundation walls was relieved, as required by the stop work order, removing any danger of collapse. Mance had maintained that there had been no danger, but the interpretation of the building codes by Building Inspector Ted Flanders, supported by respected engineering analysis, had prevailed. Hence the excavation.

A continuing plan has been formulated but not yet fully approved. It is an uncommon technique that has been publicized after its successful use in certain highway bridge abutments in Texas. In this plan, the space behind the foundation wall would be filled with very large blocks of expanded polystyrene (a.k.a. Styrofoam). Atop that would be a paved surface satisfactory for the loading of vehicles and people, with full restoration of appearance and building accessibility. The plastic blocks would remain indefinitely.

Pending analyses and discussions of this plan and other problems, work could resume before long on the remaining construction work. Perhaps this spring, customers will be celebrating Mayfest on the veranda and watching jets come and go on Runway 6-24. It’s been a long and expensive wait. 

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