On January 14 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, CT, civil engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill and the City of New Britain were awarded an ACEC CT 2020 Engineering Excellence Award for their joint effort on the completion of the Beehive Bridge.
Beehive Bridge is a singular and statement bridge in New Britain, CT that underwent a major transformation. The original bridge was constructed in the 1970s, but divided the city. Spanning 270 feet, the original bridge was built for vehicular movement over Route 72, and was neither walkable nor bikeable. To reconnect the neighborhoods, five lanes were reduced to three, creating space for two 5-foot bike lanes, wider sidewalks (up to 21-feet-wide, each inset with 5-foot-wide strip of brick pavers), trees, and plantings. The bridge sports curved panels in varying shades of translucent orange formed to look like a giant honeycomb and to mimic the flight of a bumble bee. As the sun moves across the sky, sunlight drifts through the panels, creating changing patterns on the streetscape. At night, the walls are lit by programmable LED lighting. A public art installation of a giant aluminum beehive sits on a raised dais and each corner of the bridge is anchored by an 11-foot-tall aluminum bee.
This bridge was a collaborative effort. The City of New Britain Public Works Director Mark Moriarty, PE and New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart were the project’s champions in its early stages, and City Engineer Rob Trottier, PE, city staff, CTDOT, and a group of dedicated stakeholders provided leadership to reach public consensus and a strong endorsement of the project. The design team included Fuss & O’Neill, Svigals + Partners, Pirie Associates Architects, and Richter & Cegan, Inc. The contractor was Martin Laviero Contractor, Inc. and Sign Pro was instrumental in the construction of the paneling and sculptures.