By Robin Vinci | Editor
Beehives will soon adorn a City eyesore giving new life to a dreary area of New Britain.
A working group for the Streetscape Project put together two schemes for the final design of the overpass on the Route 72 Bridge. On Wednesday, Mayor Erin Stewart made her final choice for a design that features the City’s signature beehive look.
“When we were looking at the busway we thought it was not aesthetically inviting and we needed to do something to make it more inviting,” said Stewart. “We are looking to make the area more pedestrian friendly by narrowing the road, widening the walkway and putting a little island in the middle. But, we wanted to do façade work so it is inviting to walk by.”
The new façade work features beehives throughout the bridge and bees on the ends that will light up using some kind of LED lighting that is noticeable during the day and at night whether walking or driving underneath it.
“It is whimsical,” said Mark Moriarty, public works director. “The colors that are used in the barrier are attractive.”
Moriarty said the working group made the design based on the comments during a public input meeting in October.
“The SKEP Scheme (which was chosen by the Mayor) is more affordable within the City’s budget than the other design,” said Moriarty. “Overall everyone agreed that either of these options was a great project that the City should be proud to have.”
The City has received seed money for the project because it is around the CTFastrak and also two grants close to $2 million. About $1 million in grants are still being sought before moving forward with the project.
“This addresses a lot of issues such as the long distance of the bridge and loud sounds from the highway,” said Moriarty. “It does not separate both ends of the downtown.”
Also being done will be sidewalk work including bricks and lights that have been done across downtown.
Gerry Amodio, downtown district director said, “The idea is to get people out of the CTFastrak and get them on Main St. so they either go downtown or walk up to Main St. to Little Poland.”
The program is expected to begin sometime this year with a goal for this Spring.
Fuss & O’Neill is the project managers who are leading the team for this project. The art & architecture will be done by Pirie Associates and Svigals Partners both of New Haven.
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