CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
2800 BERLIN TURNPIKE P.O. BOX 317546
NEWINGTON CONNECTICUT, 06131-7546
|FOR RELEASE: May 1, 2015||
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
FAX: (860) 594-3065
WEB SITE: www.ct.gov/dot
Ospreys Nesting on New Platform on Swing Bridge
CTDOT to begin “Tweeting” Messages When the Bridge Opens and Closes
State and local officials today toured the East Haddam swing bridge to see first-hand the pair of ospreys nesting on the new platform built for them by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), which owns and operates the 102-year-old bridge that opens and closes for marine traffic below on the Connecticut River.
CTDOT Commissioner James P. Redeker also announced that the department has begun “tweeting” messages to interested citizens when the bridge opens and closes. Citizens must sign up to receive the messages through twitter.com.
The pivoting bridge carries Route 82 over the river between Haddam and East Haddam. When it opens for boats, traffic can get backed up on each side of the river, so it will be helpful to drivers to know when that happens and avoid the area if possible.
For many years, ospreys have built their large nests of tree branches on one of the bridge trusses; it was sometimes an issue when a branch would fall from the nest to the bridge deck below. Working with Rep. Melissa Ziobron, First Selectman Mark Walter, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and others, CTDOT erected the platform that sits out over the water, completing the work in February – just in time for the annual return of the distinctive, large brown-and-white birds in March. The platform was fabricated by CTDOT bridge staff and installed by Mohawk Northeast, a construction company based in the Plantsville section of Southington, at a cost of $13,000.
“This is a great example of the DOT listening to constructive local concerns and taking action,” said Commissioner Redeker. “I am delighted the ospreys are actually using their new home. I also want to thank the towns of East Haddam and Haddam, the local legislative delegation, Mohawk and the DOT bridge teams who made this happen.”
“I want to thank the Commissioner for his collaborative work on this project. After bringing these two items to his attention, I am thrilled that my constituents will now have a way to be notified about bridge openings and closings,” said State Representative Melissa Ziobron, whose district includes East Haddam. “The osprey project is great for the ospreys, but will also improve safety by keeping fallen limbs off the roadway and provide a vantage point for residents and visitors alike to observe this beautiful bird! I want to thank those that have contributed to the fundraising effort for the osprey platform, including The RiverQuest.”
“Osprey have become a very popular ‘added attraction’ for residents near the swing bridge. DOT worked to find a creative way to allow the birds to remain in residence on the bridge, yet ensure safety for both bridge operations and the nesting osprey,” said Jenny Dickson, DEEP Supervising Wildlife Biologist. “We appreciate the stewardship efforts they have made to provide a place for osprey to nest that will allow them to continue to be enjoyed by the public for years to come.”
Rep. Ziobron, CT RiverQuest Cruises, local Girl Scout Troop 62269 and others banded together to raise money to defray CTDOT costs for the platform and planned to present a check at today’s event.
Citizens who sign up for the tweets will receive two messages: “The bridge is closed to vehicular traffic. Expect delays.” and “The bridge is reopened to vehicular traffic. Drive safely.”
The East Haddam swing bridge is 882 feet long. It opened on Flag Day, June 14, 1913.