State approves money for work

NAUGATUCK — The state Bond Commission has approved $3.19 million in grant money for Naugatuck to upgrade the Whittemore Bridge that runs over the Naugatuck River on Maple Street.

The Department of Transportation agreed to give the borough that money in July, and the Bond Commission officially approved it Nov. 19.

The century-old bridge was designed by architect Henry Bacon, who designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

The project will cost more than $6 million, which Naugatuck now has after voters recently approved funding $1 million through a bond to offset the cost. Voters approved an additional $2 million several years ago.

The DOT has ruled that the bridge is in need of repair. Department of Public Works Director Jim Stewart said it is not a safety hazard, but noted that the bridge does have a 40-ton weight restriction, meaning that some large trucks cannot use it.

It is unclear when the project will begin.

State representatives Rosa Rebimbas (R-70) and David Labriola lauded the approval of the grant.

“I am pleased the Bond Commission recognizes that the safety of our state’s bridges is important to both the local community and the state and continues to support and fund the Local Bridge Program to repair and replace worn bridge structures,” Rebimbas said in a press release.

Labriola added, in a press release, “These funds will provide critical infrastructure improvements for the people of Naugatuck.”