Former Middletown Councilman David Bauer, who for nearly a year has been shooting the sunset over the Connecticut River, reminded us to wish a happy 75th birthday to the Middletown/Portland Arrigoni Bridge. "Yes, the standard shot is from Middletown's Harbor Park, but one should get up close for birthday congratulations," he wrote.
It got us thinking about the bridge we really take for granted, which leads Routes 17 and 66 over the great Connecticut.
The Portland Historical Society is hosting a special historical program commemorating the 75th anniversary of the dedication of the Arrigoni Bridge.
On Aug. 27, the society will host a program by Jonathan Ives, a structural engineer with URS Corp. in Rocky Hill. The program, “The Design and Construction of the Arrigoni Bridge,” will focus on the bridge’s design history, including alternative routes and bridge types that were considered before the ultimate design was selected.The Middlesex County Historical Society has a temporary exhibit on the history of the Arrigoni at the Gen. Mansfield House on Main Street. Throughout the summer, there is show including photographs that details the 3,420-foot span. When it was built in 1938, the Arrigoni was the longest in New England.
It was named after it's greatest supporter, state legislator Charles J. Arrigoni, who promoted the project.
Here in Middletown, the bridge has been the talk of the town, after Mayor Dan Drew last month revived the longtime concept of installing lights on the bridge, saying he will present the idea to the Common Council, with the initial investment costing as much as $750,000.A question posed on Middletown Patch's Facebook Page following the news elicited reaction from many folks. Responses ranged from concerns about the aquatic life in the river, its cost, which they say is better spent on schools; and environmental impact on the region.
In a project that came in $2.3 million under budget and two months ahead of schedule, state and local officials including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy praised the completion of the year-long rehabilitation of the bridge last October with a ceremony on the Portland side.
In August 2011, Middletown Patch published a photography essay of the majestic span. Next time you travel over it, marvel in its majesty.
View the Middlesex Historical Society exhibit Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the first Saturday of the month, from noon to 3 p.m. For information, call (860) 346-0746 or see here.
Have a news tip or story idea for Middletown Patch? Email the editor firstname.lastname@example.org. For the latest on this and all news from Middletown, subscribe to our newsletter, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.