Congress Street Bridge Demolition Begins This Week
BRIDGEPORT, CT (March 8, 2010) – Mayor Bill Finch and Congressman Jim Himes gathered with City Council members, state legislators, and community leaders today on the east side of the Congress Street Bridge to announce that the bridge demolition will be underway this week. The first phase of the demolition project will involve tearing down the upright leaves of the dysfunctional Congress Street Bridge, which formerly connected downtown Bridgeport with the East Side.
“My administration has made the demolition and replacement of the Congress Street Bridge a top priority, the deconstruction of the steel leaves is a crucial first step towards that goal” said Mayor Bill Finch, as he stood alongside Congressman Jim Himes; State Representatives Andres Ayala, Don Clemons, and Ezequiel Santiago; and City Council members Manny Ayala, Lydia Martinez, Angel Depara, and Denise Taylor-Moye. “For the past 12 years, the condition of this bridge has been visible evidence of how cities like Bridgeport were shortchanged in this country. Now, thanks to the efforts of President Obama, Congressman Jim Himes, and the dedication of my administration and the community activists gathered here today, we are finally taking the first step toward connecting the East Side with downtown once again.”
“For too long, the Congress Street Bridge has been an ugly reminder of urban decay, and the isolation of once vibrant neighborhoods,” said Congressman Jim Himes. “Today marks an important first step in reuniting a re-emerging city.”
The Congress Street Bridge is being demolished with more than 2 million dollars in federal funding, obtained through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Comprehensive Appropriations Act of 2009, and a Community Development Block Grant. Mayor Bill Finch and Congressman Jim Himes secured the funding for the demolition last year.
Construction of a new bridge is estimated to cost approximately $60 million dollars. Mayor Finch has been actively working with Congressman Himes, Transportation Committee Chair, Congressman James Oberstar, and the Obama administration to secure $50 million dollars in federal funding. An additional $10 million dollars has been approved by the Connecticut State Legislature and is awaiting approval from the Governor to be added to the bond commission.