Bridgeport mayor seeks state aid to fix drawbridge

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch called on Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the state delegation Wednesday to appropriate funds to fix a drawbridge that has been stuck in the up position for a decade.

Finch has already committed $1.5 million in city funds to redesign the bridge, but he estimates it would cost up to $35 million to rebuild the structure. He's asking Rell to make good on past talk of allocating state funds for the project.

The bridge, which sits across from the Pequonnock River and next to the Bridgeport Fire Department headquarters, originally had a wooden deck when it was built in 1910. That deck was replaced with steel in the 1940s, but welds on the new deck eventually started to pop.

The bridge was last open to travel in 1998. "I can remember driving around downtown with my parents to go shopping and having to wait for the bridge to open and close," says Bridgeport Fire Department Deputy Chief Robert Petrucelli. "It's been so long. Everybody has become so accustomed to not using it and just taking the alternate routes."

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