The Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown is about to get a major safety update. According to an article on WFSB Eyewitness News 3 entitled Plans Released to Construct Fencing on Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown, Mayor Dan Drew issued a statement on Saturday that plans are underway to build a fence on the bridge in the efforts to reduce suicides.
Construction on the 90-foot bridge is expected to begin in 2019. While the Department of Transportation already has plans to start a rehab project on the bridge, they also will be installing an 8-foot fence on either side. Additionally, the article said that there will also be six suicide prevention call sings at the ends of the bridge, as well as the middle.
By installing the fences, the article said that Drew anticipates a reduction of rescue calls to the Police and Fire Departments of people who are “threatening to or considering” jumping. It would also, the article says, “stand as a deterrent for future incidents.” For instance, it would have prevented a 2015 incident when Tony Moreno threw his 7-month son Aaden off of the bridge before jumping himself.
According to an article on Fox61 entitled Middletown to Install Safety Fences on Arrigoni Bridge, Drew said that he was “shocked” to learn how many people take their lives on that bridge. But, what’s even more shocking is that very few are actually reported. Therefore, installing a fence on either side of the bridge was something that he wanted to accomplish since first getting elected in 2011.
However, with that being said, it’s still going to be a few years before work on the bridge is going to be completed. And, the fence isn’t going to be the only enhancement.
According to an article on the Hartford Courant entitled DOT Planning Mayor Arrigoni Work In 2019, Middletown Officials Seeking Suicide Deterrents, the bridge will be getting major repairs. These include: repairing the two approaches that lead from Portland to Middletown, replacement of the approach decking, structural steel repairs, sidewalk and railing replacement, new lighting, new drainage, rust removal, and paving.
The project, according to the article is expected to cost $37 million. However, the article says that 20 percent of that comes from “state bonding,” while the rest comes from a federal highway program.
With that being said, between the enhancements and the fence, the bridge is about to get a lot safer.