'Beehive Bridge' construction to begin in spring

by Christopher Fortier | New Britain Herald

NEW BRITAIN — With next year’s winter thaw will come three downtown roadwork projects that have the potential to disrupt traffic for up to one year, officials confirmed on Tuesday.

Developers of the so-called Beehive Bridge that carries Main Street over Route 72 said that work on the overpass will begin around the same time as the redesign of a portion of Columbus Boulevard and the state’s maintenance work on the Harry Truman Overpass.

Derek Hug, a project manager at the civil and environmental engineering firm of Fuss & O’Neill, said drivers will experience traffic pattern disruptions and lane restrictions during the work.

The company expects bridge construction to begin by April 2017, the same time as the Columbus Boulevard project, where plans include the relocation of the downtown bus hub and the installation of a roundabout near the entrance to the Red Roof Inn. Both are projected to be completed by late spring 2018.

Maintenance and repairs on the Truman Overpass should take about six months, according to Mayor Erin Stewart. The work is being overseen by the state Department of Transportation.

Hug said while the simultaneous projects may at times be a headache, the city and construction crews will make “an ongoing and constant effort” to make it as easy as possible for motorists and pedestrians.

Mark Moriarty, the city’s director public works agreed. “We’re going to work as hard as we can to minimize (disruptions),” he said.

Hug and others detailed the Beehive Bridge project in a public information session at police headquarters attended by city officials and residents. The presentation was complete with sketches and 3-D artist’s renderings of the tri-color honeycomb design bridge walls and large bee and beehive sculptures.

The project will include widened sidewalks, new traffic signals, crosswalks, pedestrian ramps, revised lane arrangements and two pocket parks on the north side of the bridge.

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