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.