Beehive concept a key part of streetscape project

By Robert Storace

NEW BRITAIN — The Main Street overpass will feature four 12-foot high bee designs, bike lanes and wider sidewalks when the improvement project is completed in 2016, officials said Friday.

The 265-foot-long overpass is being overhauled as part of the fifth phase of the city’s streetscape project, aimed in part of beautifying the city’s center.

Last month, the 14-member working group, which has been giving direction on the project, voted 9-5 for the beehive concept over the honeycomb-like structure on the overpass. After meeting with representatives from the architecture and design firms this week, Mayor Erin Stewart said she also favored the beehive look.

“The beehive concept, we felt, embodies the spirit of New Britain, and where best to start than with the city seal [which is of a beehive with bees flying around],” Stewart said. “The city slogan translates into ‘industry fills the hive and enjoys the honey.’  We wanted to build off the city seal and the motto.”

Ted DeSantos, senior vice president of the Manchester-based Fuss & O’Neill, the consultant helping design the project, said, “The honeycomb was more abstract. It was definitely more bolder and made more of an artistic statement, but art is very subjective. We wanted to go with the timeless classic look.”

The bees, Public Works Director Mark Moriarty said, “will look classy and non-intimidating.”

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