Ophelia He, Contributing Photographer

Mayor Justin Elicker, along with state and local officials, recently celebrated the completion and reopening of the Ferry Street Bridge to commuters.

After a Sept. 30 news conference and ribbon-cutting ceremony, the bridge was reopened to the public. The Connecticut Department of Transportation was in charge of the project, which took 5 months and $3 million to complete. 

“[It’s] really a safety and reliability improvement project, to make sure the motors, bikes and pedestrians can safely cross over the bridge,” said Josh Morgan, the spokesperson and communications manager for CTDOT.

Morgan explained that the bridge was first built in 1912, with its last major renovation in 1992. He said that the bridge was suffering from rust and some deterioration, a condition noticed by inspectors ahead of the renovation project. The bridge deck was completely removed from the concrete, and the steel structures underneath the bridge were replaced, according to Morgan.

Ferry Street Bridge connects the State Street and Middletown Avenues in New Haven across the railroad track. According to Rick Fontana, commissioner of the Commision on Fire Prevention and Control in Connecticut, it plays a crucial role in New Haven citizens’ daily lives, transporting them to school and work.

Elicker mentioned that the bridge was necessary to connect one side of the Quinnipiac River railroad track to the other and said that with the construction, people had to travel much further to get across. 

Fontana said the bridge “serves as a key to the gateway” for emergency services, and when the bridge was closed the obstruction of detours and alternate routes often delayed emergency services and endangered public health.

There was continued access to pedestrians and cyclists to cross the bridge throughout construction, according to Elicker. 

“That’s important because people could still get to school,” Elicker said. “There’s a lot of kids that live in Fair Haven and walk across High School, for example.”

Because of its importance, Morgan said they avoid shutting the bridge down unless absolutely necessary. In this case, however, the entire bridge was below standards, forcing them to temporarily close it. 

“They said it was going to open up on September 30,” Fontana said. “They weren’t kidding … So my hat’s off to all the people that designed it and worked on it.”

Elicker was also happy to see the bridge finished on time, especially in a time rife with supply chain issues.

Morgan said the bridge renovation was the product of a successful partnership with the city officials of New Haven.

“They helped alert the residents and the businesses in the area,” Morgan said. “They were great partners. They understood the importance of this work.”

The project was awarded to Rotha Contracting Company, Inc. 

Ophelia He is a reporter of city and arts desk, covering Arts, Theaters, and Museums in Yale and in New Haven. Originally from Shenzhen, China, she is a freshman from Stiles majoring in History of Art and Cognitive Science.