State awards $6.3M contract for Derby-Shelton Bridge renovation

SHELTON — Renovation work on the Derby-Shelton Bridge is moving forward, as the state has tapped a contractor for the project which should begin by April 1.

The $6.3 million contract was awarded to Mohawk Northeast, Inc. Construction. The bid was almost $1.5 million below its pre-bid estimate on the work, completion of which should be December 2023.

The project is designed to create an aesthetically pleasing public space along the Derby-Shelton Bridge and provide an attractive gateway that is pedestrian and bicycle friendly to the downtown areas, according to Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments Executive Director Rick Dunne.

“This is a special bridge with tremendous historical significance,” said state Rep. Jason Perillo, Deputy House Republican Leader.

“As Shelton’s downtown sees continued private investment, improvements like this make these and future projects more attractive to investors, residents and visitors,” Perillo added. “This will become a new and beautiful gateway to Shelton over the Housatonic.”

Initial funding to get the project started was obtained through the efforts of Perillo and fellow state Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria along with former state Reps. Themis Klarides and Linda Gentile.

“Without their efforts, it is doubtful the project would be built,” Mark Nielsen, NVCOG director of planning, said.

The project design was performed by AECOM under contract with NVCOG. Details include the replacement of bridge parapet walls, the removal of existing lighting and replacement with period-style light, colored LED “up-lighting” that will accent the archways and parapets from below the bridge, a second travel lane for traffic heading to Derby, new pavement and curbing, and the shifting of the travel lanes to accommodate wider sidewalks on the south side of the bridge and a cycle track.

The project marks the second major element of a three-part plan developed by the NVCOG to improve traffic flow and pedestrian experience connecting Derby and Shelton, Dunne said.

“Beginning with the expansion of the Atwater Bridge crossing of the Naugatuck River on Route 34, which was completed in 2017, the three projects span two rivers from the east bank of the Naugatuck River, through downtown Derby and across to the west bank of the Housatonic River at Canal Street in Shelton,” Dunne said.

The final phase, Dunne added, is a complete reconstruction of Main and lower Elizabeth streets in Derby, which will be advertised for bid by July 2021. The Main Street project is expected to be completed in 2024.

The Derby-Shelton Bridge project will also offer connectivity with the existing Housatonic Riverwalk trail network in Shelton and the Naugatuck River Greenway in Derby. The project limits will extend from the Bridge Street intersection with Main Street in Derby to the west end of the Derby-Shelton Bridge and along the southeast ramp to Canal Street.

“We’re excited with the announcement of state’s contract award for this project,” Nielsen said. “Multiple public workshops were held in 2020 to ensure residents and stakeholders had an opportunity to provide input into the design. Several changes were made to plans because of comments we received, and the final result will benefit the Valley with an improved gateway into both cities.”