The bid is in and most of the members of New Britainâ€™s Common Council are ready to give final approval to the Beehive Bridge project, but there appears to be a fly in the ointment.
On Feb. 14, the council met and voted to send the Beehive Bridge project to the Committee on Administration, Finance and Law by a vote of 9-4 split down party lines. The Democrats were in the majority.
Democrat Carlo Carlozzi put the brakes on the proceedings asking that the proposed project be sent to committee for further study in spite of the fact that he had previously supported the project. Carlozzi said he is seeking details on how the funding for the $7 million project will be disbursed and he wanted new aldermen to have an opportunity to ask questions about the project.
The project was put out to bid with the lowest bid coming in from Martin Laviero Contractor Inc., of Bristol. The company was awarded the contract.
The Beehive Bridge renovation is the fifth phase of the cityâ€™s Complete Street Master Plan for which the city has been awarded state grants totaling $2.7 million and $1.6 million in federal grant money.About $2.37 million will come from city bonding,
There is no doubt that the bridge, which crosses over Route 72 is in need of repair. Further, the project is well past the planning stages and as Public Works Director Mark Moriarty pointed out, the city has committed to the project.
So what gives?
Unless Carlozzi can raise legitimate and tangible issues that could impede the bridge project, there is no reason to stall the process now.
Delaying the project could bring cost overruns. And, as Moriarty noted, abandoning the project could hurt the cityâ€™s chances of receiving grant money in the future.
We need to stay the course on revitalization and improvement of downtown. Maintaining the cityâ€™s infrastructure is a key to that goal.
Crumbling roads and bridges, empty office buildings and dilapidated city centers drive businesses away.
New Britain officials need to support investments that will pay off in the long run instead of allowing their own shortsightedness to get in the way of progress.