Why Bridgeport’s bridge rebuild is taking decades more than Norwalk’s — ‘It’s quite sickening’

State officials are pledging to take a year to rebuild Norwalk’s Fairfield Avenue highway overpass, demolished after a fiery May 6 crash, at an estimated cost of about $20 million. Meanwhile Bridgeport’s multi-year slog to install a new Congress Street drawbridge, out of service since the late 1990s, has been dealt another setback and is stuck in limbo. This week Bridgeport’s economic development office confirmed that the city’s recent application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for $22.1 million to help cover the costs of a new Congress Street Bridge was rejected. In a January briefing, economic development staff told City Council members “we feel very, very competitive.” That $22.1 million is needed because when the city went out to bid on the project last summer it used a $24 million price estimate that dated back to before the global COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020. Three years later interested contractors instead submitted bids of $42.55 million, $48.04 million, $56.93 million and $57.63 million.


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