Governor Lamont, Senator Blumenthal, Representative Courtney Announce $158.2 Million Federal Infrastructure Grant for Gold Star Memorial Bridge Rehabilitation
Bridge Investment Program Grant Accelerates Project Completion Timeline
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and Representative Joe Courtney today announced that the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) $158.2 million through their competitive Bridge Investment Program (BIP) to accelerate the rehabilitation of the Gold Star Memorial Bridge northbound span between New London and Groton.
The bridge’s northbound span is the longest bridge in Connecticut, carrying five lanes of traffic and nearly 60,000 vehicles daily, and has been undergoing the first phase of an overall $407.7 million rehabilitation since 2020. With this grant secured, future construction phases on the northbound structure will be accelerated with the bridge fully operational at an earlier date.
Created under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden in November of 2021, the BIP is the single largest dedicated federal investment in the nation’s bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to pay dividends to Connecticut,” Governor Lamont said. “Ensuring people and freight can move safely and efficiently across the Thames River is so important. This project helps reduce congestion, lower emissions, and is an economic driver of eastern Connecticut. I thank President Joe Biden, Secretary Peter Buttigieg, and the U.S. Department of Transportation for this award. I also thank Connecticut’s Congressional delegation, who continue to work for us every day in Washington to bring home these funds to improve our state.”
“This massive, historic investment in an iconic Connecticut bridge will make travel safer, speedier, and more reliable,” Senator Blumenthal said. “The competition for funding was cutthroat, and our delegation’s fight for it was steadfast and unstinting. This investment marks another highly significant step toward bringing our infrastructure into the 21st century and we will continue working for more progress.”
“Today’s announcement by the Federal Highway Administration that Connecticut’s largest passenger and truck bridge – the Thames River Gold Star Bridge – has been awarded $158 million for a long overdue rehabilitation is another example of the 2021 Infrastructure Law’s positive impact on eastern Connecticut,” Representative Courtney said. “Preliminary work at Gold Star started last summer by members of the local Ironworkers Union, and this award will ensure that follow on structural work on the northbound lane will occur. With this upgrade, the bridge will be able to safely tolerate higher weight vehicles, which is a benefit to all motorists, and will reduce truck traffic on local roads, which is more congested right now due to present weight restrictions. This award is a win-win for good paying jobs in the region, and safer traffic flow.”
“Infrastructure investments like this increase the safety, longevity, and efficiency of one of our state’s most important bridges,” CTDOT Commissioner Joseph Giulietti said. “Thanks to the federal government’s commitment, this critical major project will be accelerated and completed faster. We thank the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy, Congressman Courtney, and Governor Lamont for their steadfast support of vital bridge and infrastructure investments.”
Due to its condition, the northbound bridge is currently load restricted, which prohibits oversize and overweight vehicles from crossing the northbound structure of the bridge. As a result, greenhouse gas emissions are increased through idling, as the 17-mile detour includes more than 20 traffic signals.
In addition to safety improvements on the bridge, the project also includes expanded non-motorized access across the Thames River. A multi-use path will benefit active transportation users and connect New London and Groton, the Naval Submarine Base, and the United States Coast Guard Academy.
The Gold Star Memorial Bridge Project is the largest project underway in Connecticut that includes a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the building trades, providing good paying jobs and workforce development training for the next generation of workers.
The Gold Star Memorial Bridge was originally constructed in 1943, and a major superstructure rehabilitation was performed in the 1970s. In the 1990s, multiple rehabilitation projects were completed to improve bridge conditions. In 2014, there was a bearing replacement project for half of the expansion bearings on the approach spans. In 2018, improvements were completed on the southbound span. In 2020, the project on the northbound span began.
This is the second BIP grant CTDOT has been awarded since the passage of the federal infrastructure law. In October, CTDOT received $1 million for the Interstate 95 Traffic and Bridge Safety Study in Stamford.