State and local officials break ground on the new parking garage at the Stamford Transportation Center in Stamford, Conn. Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. State transportation officials expect the structure to be complete by Sept. 2022, and the project to be finished by Summer 2023.
STAMFORD — One week, there was little to see of the pending parking garage near the Stamford Transportation Center.
The next, the shell of a building jutted into the skyline.
That's all on purpose, state transportation officials say.
Contractors are on track to complete the second stage of the almost-1,000 spot parking garage by September to serve one of the state's busiest train stations, state Department of Transportation spokesperson Josh Morgan told The Stamford Advocate.
Every day, elements are "being brought in and dropped in place, sort of like building a puzzle," Morgan said.
City and state leaders broke ground on the $81.7 million, 928-spot edifice in October 2021 to much fanfare. The car depot is meant to replace a crumbling garage on Station Place, directly across from the station.
DOT and Stamford both characterize the new garage as part of a plan to reorganize an area near the station plagued by broader transportation problems.
DOT this year kicked off a master planning process for the Stamford Transportation Center, floating options that included a dedicated rideshare area and pedestrian improvements in the process.
Morgan explained that the first year of the project involved a lot of work out of the public eye, like drainage improvements and foundation work. But, at the same time, "hundreds and hundreds" of necessary pre-cast concrete slabs were created off-site, he said.
When the preliminary work on South State Street concluded, the concrete slabs could be moved on-site, and construction could start. And fast. Construction industry professionals say that pre-fabricated elements speed up construction time by cutting down common roadblocks like inclement weather delays.
"So, if you drive by today and then again this time ... next week, it's probably gonna look a little bit different," he said. After a year of not much happening, everything is happening all at once.
The prefabrication isn't the only reason why the structure will be built by September. Morgan said that the agreement with contractors stipulates that construction "has to be done in about five months' time" and that this piece of the work began in May.
And once the building is done, there is still more work to do. From late 2022 until Summer 2023 — when the department expects to unveil the garage — contractors will work on the interior finishes.
Then, DOT will connect the garage with the Stamford Transportation Center via an enclosed pedestrian bridge. Morgan said the bridge should be in place "by the end of the year."
Verónica Del Valle is a reporter covering growth and development for the Stamford Advocate and economic mobility for Hearst Connecticut Media Group. Verónica graduated in 2020 from American University, where she earned both her bachelors and masters degrees. Her work has appeared in NPR and The Washington Post.