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Naugatuck Receives $3.2 Million Grant to Repair Historic Bridge

The more than 100 year-old bridge is need of major repairs.

File photo
File photo

State Senator Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. (D-Woodbridge) today welcomed $3.2 million in state bonding to repair the historic, 102-year-old Whittemore Bridge on Maple Street over the Naugatuck River, according to a press release from his office. 

Here is the rest of the press release:

“I know Whittemore Bridge repairs have been on Naugatuck’s priority list for some time, so I’m pleased their grant application has been approved and we are finally poised to move forward with this project,” Sen. Crisco said. “I’m happy to have voted in the past for the state funding needed to achieve these repairs and reduce the financial burden on local residents. Connecticut budgets a lot of money for infrastructure improvements and Naugatuck is the beneficiary of that.”

Concrete on the bridge’s arches is rotting, and running water has weakened the footings. Naugatuck city officials applied for state aid to repair the180-foot bridge through Connecticut’s Local Bridge Program; just this year, Sen. Crisco co-sponsored and voted for a bill that added $10 million to Local Bridge Program applications in 2015, bringing the total budget available to cities and towns to $20 million.

This is the second time state funds have been awarded for the project: in July 2011, the State Bond Commission approved $1.3 million for bridge work (Sen. Crisco supported that bonding package as well.) This latest state grant, awarded on July 9, will pay for half of the total bridge replacement cost; Naugatuck voters have already budgeted about $2.4 million for the work.

Naugatuck built the bridge in 1912 to honor John Whittemore, who died in 1910. Whittemore was the head of one of the Naugatuck Malleable Iron Company and he used his great wealth to benefit the community, including building two schools and a library. Plans for the bridge were drawn by Henry Bacon, a nationally prominent architect best known today for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

In Connecticut, there are more than 3,400 bridges and culverts on municipally maintained roads, and the construction and maintenance of these is the responsibility of cities and towns. But recognizing the difficulty that municipalities have in meeting this responsibility, the General Assembly created the Local Bridge Program in 1984 as part of Connecticut’s Infrastructure Renewal Program. The program provides state grants to municipalities for the removal, replacement, reconstruction or rehabilitation of local bridges. 

 

Phil July 20, 2014 at 08:54 PM
Lena, OK I understand the issue a little better now. You are upset because "the town" is not funding a solution to a problem you see as important but is instead funding solutions to problems other people see as important that mean little or nothing to you. How does "the town" reconcile this and fund solutions to all issues, and there are plenty of them, specifically without raising taxes or cutting other services?
lena July 20, 2014 at 09:59 PM
Well where do these grants come from? Do we have to cut services and raise taxes for this bridge? How about the high school? The children have to walk on the road to get to it...the road is dangerous! The town could have added that into the budget.
Phil July 20, 2014 at 10:21 PM
What grants your are referring too. Of course "the town" could have added sidewalks to the budget, and then other taxpayers, who will not use these sidewalks, would post on Patch about the waste of tax dollars because they have a problem that affects them that local tax dollars should be used to solve instead. What part of Rubber Ave does not have sidewalks? Really, I am not sure. By "this bridge", I'm assuming you mean the Whittemore bridge. 2 million dollars bonded over 20 years works out to maybe 110,000 a year for bond payments. The impact on your tax bill would not be noticed. Maybe you want to wait until it collapses in the river for replacement? I drive over this bridge several times a day, as do many others.
lena July 20, 2014 at 11:56 PM
Earlier you said you agreed that rubber ave should have sidewalks now your asking me what part doesnt have them. Maybe we can wait for a couple tragedies on rubber ave because children have to walk in the road to get to school and people drive like maniacs! I would not want the whittemore bridge to collapse before it was fixed! I never disagreed that it shouldnt be replaced! You are quite the argumentative one! Have a good night!

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