The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) has a plan to close a $188 million funding gap for the design and replacement of the New Haven’s 118-year-old Walk Bridge in Norwalk, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced late last week.
Built in 1896, the Walk Bridge is the oldest movable bridge along the New Haven Line/Northeast Corridor in Connecticut. The bridge will be replaced with a more resilient vertical lift bridge that opens for marine traffic from one side with a counterweight system and will significantly enhance the safety and reliability of commuter and intercity passenger service along the Northeast Corridor, ConnDOT officials said.
The bridge malfunctioned in two separate incidents within a two-week period over the summer, Malloy and ConnDOT officials said in a press release.
“Since the malfunctions we saw last summer, we have carried out the repairs and procedures necessary to minimize the risk for failure in the short-term and have aggressively pursued the funding necessary to implement a realistic finance plan that will bring us all the way from design to a full replacement as soon as possible,” said Malloy.
The federal government recently awarded ConnDOT $161 million for infrastructure hardening purposes. In all, this project will be funded with 34 percent state funds and 66 percent federal funds.
“For decades, the Walk Bridge was allowed to decay and deteriorate, as both the state and federal government kicked the can down the road and ignored glaring warning signs,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal in a press release. “Here, and with other major transportation investments, Gov. Malloy is to be commended for recognizing that we must invest now in our rail and transportation infrastructure, or pay later with cascading failures, intolerable traffic congestion, and diminished opportunities for economic development.”
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