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Hamden Addresses Critical Infrastructure Needs

Hamden Addresses Critical Infrastructure Needs

February 22, 2019 

By CCM Staff

One of the major themes of the 2018 Gubernatorial race was transportation and infrastructure. According to a CNBC study, Connecticut ranked as having the fourth worst infrastructure in the United States. That means that many of the roads and bridges in the state are in dire need of repair. The Town of Hamden recently finished repair on one bridge, and accepted grant money in order to repair another with the safety of the residents and drivers in mind.

In May of 2018, the Skiff Street Bridge had to be closed because of the appearance of a major crack that might have led to a collapse under daily stress.  The bridge was already under duress and in the process of being replaced, but the fissure had made officials concerned for public safety.

The break was what town officials deemed an “inconvenience,” but considering the timing and the cost to fix a bridge that was in the process of being replaced, shows the importance of assessing and fixing the thoroughfares as needed.

The town recently accepted a grant to repair another bridge, the Chatterton Way Bridge, that the Department of Transportation had deemed in “fair to worse” condition, strongly recommending that the entire structure be replaced.  

town responsibility back to top

Bridges on municipally maintained roads are the responsibility of the towns and cities that maintain them, according to the Department of Transportation website, and this puts added cost onto towns like Hamden who have many smaller bridges over smaller brooks and streams as the Chatterton bridge crosses, and rivers like the Mill River that the Skiff Street Bridge crosses.

According to a report in the New Haven Register, half of the funding will come from the 2018 State Local Bridge Program, originally created in 1984 to help municipalities pay for bridge repair.

But a town like Hamden will be throwing money at a bridge that will be taken out of service in two years. Add to this that Hamden nearly didn’t receive over $300,000 in Town Aid Road Grants last year when exiting governor Malloy held them back.

Ultimately, the funds were released, but their delay made it difficult to secure contracts in a timely manner. It raises the question of whether or not towns are losing out on repairs.

With some of the worst roads in America, it’s worth it to remember that the ultimate cost of poor road conditions is significantly more over time than the cost to maintain those same roads in good condition.

New Governor Lamont made frequent pledges to get more infrastructure bucks into the state, something that might ultimately mean tolls across our highways. Right now, towns and cities across the state will continue to keep a watchful eye, make repairs when they can, and keep making inroads on a problem affecting Connecticut on a grand scale.