By Skyler Frazer Staff Writer
NEW BRITAIN — As New England heads into spring and temperatures warm, the city of New Britain is preparing for several construction projects that will change the look of downtown. Work on two of the larger road projects is expected to take place at the same time, according to city officials.
The final design for the “Beehive Bridge project” — the span that runs over Route 72 on Main Street — was sent to the city about a month ago from the firms contracted with designing the renovation.
The final design features a few changes that weren’t in the original renditions.
“We’ve had to make some – what we call ‘value engineering’ adjustments – but that happens a lot on projects,” said Derek Hug, a project manager at Fuss & O’Neill.
Fuss & O’Neill — along with firms Richter and Cegan and Svigals & Partners — were involved in the design of the bridge.
One feature that didn’t make the final design cut is the revamped median, which was originally going to have decorated light posts surrounded by foliage.
Hug said some key features approved for the bridge include multicolor panels on the side of the bridge, the stainless steel bee sculptures on each corner and the big beehive sculpture in the middle.
“Those art projects are standouts,” Hug said. “I’m very happy with how the design turned out.”
Hug also pointed out the “pocket parks” on both sides of the bridge as good additions to the project.
Funding for the bridge’s renovation was settled months ago, with $2.1 million coming from state bonding and $700,000 that the DOT has committed to the project. The city is paying for $1.4 million while $1.6 million will be used in Federal Transit Administration Bus Livability Funds.
The Common Council and Mayor William McNamara in 1978 named the span “The Lions Club Memorial Bridge” in honor of the local civic club. A bronze plaque noting the honor is located on the south end of the bridge.
City officials said work on the span should begin in May.
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