Congress Street Bridge Bids Soar

Can you start construction with $24 million financed and then seek the rest of the loot? That’s the predicament facing the Ganim administration as bids for construction of a new Congress Street Bridgeport have come in way over budget. The $24 million price tag was a pre-Covid estimation. Costs have soared since.

The bridge has been a political football on a local, state and federal level for decades and will give Mayor Joe Ganim’s opponents ammo to highlight the languishing process.

From Brian Lockhart, CT Post:

Twenty-six years after the Congress Street drawbridge got stuck in the open position, 13 years after the structure was demolished, and three years after construction was planned to begin on a replacement, the city has run into yet another significant hurdle — inflation.

The project’s estimated $24 million pre-COVID pandemic budget has unsurprisingly exploded, based on bids submitted by the June 29 deadline by a handful of interested contractors.

According to documents on BidSync, the website Bridgeport uses to seek competitive prices for goods and services, the updated costs to install a new fixed Congress Street span reconnecting downtown and the East Side stand at $42.55 million, $48.04 million, $56.93 million and $57.63 million.

…Thomas Gaudett, a top aide to the mayor, on Thursday said the higher bids were anticipated and City Hall will be reviewing them to see if there is any way to make price-cutting changes through “value engineering” while also consulting with state and federal lawmakers for potential funding assistance.

“We’re just as committed to the project as ever,” Gaudett said. He said it may even be possible for some initial work to start in the meantime.

Full story here



  1. Is this story about DOLLARS and INFLATION hitting construction estimates?
    Is it a story about INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT or a public adjustment over the decades to the lack of this auto bridge?
    Or is it a story of what may have been, should have been, could have been, might have been more than an often announced City project and was not subject to annual announcement as a major City priority for doing, getting done, having a ribbon cutting, for a status quo G2?
    Perhaps you have yet another narrative with real estate speculators entering the story, but isn’t this a story of time telling bringing us to a conclusion after decades? Is there any end in sight? Who does oversight in the City? Time will tell.

  2. G2 has a new 30 second video-ON THE GO WITH JOE that I just viewed.
    It moves rapidly from one topic to another to enhance the message of G2 MOMENTUM, it appears.

    But G2 is not the Eveready Bunny, when projects like the “missing yet often recast” Congress Street Bridge still shows the water flowing to the Sound, and people waiting for “their priorities” including citizen problems, issues, and concerns to be more fully addressed.

    Folks must find other ways to adjust to the failure to listen, administer, set priorities, and enjoy the experience of good democratic leadership. After 20 years of G1 and G2 in office voters must still stand on the riverbank looking at the water flowing. G2 does not have PERMANENT MOMENTUM unless a majority of registered voters provide their support.

    A view from either side of this bridge may be enough to ask, is it time for Joe to go, rather than see pictures of Joe on the Go? Time will tell.

  3. This bridge has been in disrepair for the entire Ganim tenure. A failure by any standard. This issue, at this time, looks like another political ploy by Joe Ganim and company. Like a bone to chew on, Ganim throws the voting public the image of a leader who’s getting things done. The problem is Joe, that you had 20 years to get this bridge done and haven’t and now it’s costing us 10 times more than it should have. Stop bullshiting us Joe. As a matter of fact, just do whatever you want to and don’t even bother explaining anything to us because it doesn’t matter anyway, there aren’t enough people who vote in this town to overcome your mob of friends. You’ll get reelected no matter what you do Joe, so don’t worry about us. You lied, cheated and stole from the people of Bridgeport as Mayor of Bridgeport and then after a 2003 conviction on felony fraud charges and after 7 years in jail, you got re-elected. What a joke. The people of Bridgeport should organize themselves and throw you and your whole mob of friends the hell out of our city. None of you would even live here if your political machine wasn’t so lucrative for you. Go away and leave us alone Joe, we need to heal from your insurgence and to strengthen ourselves for all the great things we can become without you. We are a community of strong and determined people Joe, who you better hope doesn’t find their voice before November 7, 2023.

  4. “value engineering” sounds like a private equity term for cost-cutting. Is the Congress Street Bridge a logical place to cut costs while adding value? Because of Bridgeport’s high fixed costs the backlog of unfinished projects rises.
    New construction costs have skyrocketed and for bridge building it’s even higher. Funds must be available before construction begins. It’s not easy to snap your fingers and produce $30 million. Until then, it’s a long emergency.

  5. BRIDGEPORT — Two-thousand and nineteen — a re-election year for Joe Ganim — is just days away, and the fate of one of hizzoner’s most ballyhooed projects is unclear.In September, 2017 the City Council, at Ganim’s urging, approved a $400 million plan by New York-based Exact Capital to restore the Poli Palace and Majestic theaters downtown and the adjacent Savoy Hotel. Residential towers — one 18 stories high — were also part of Exact’s vision. When Ganim campaigned for mayor in 2015 he pledged to renovate the two theaters. And were that to happen it would be one of the redevelopment projects the mayor could claim as his own as he asks voters for another four-year term in 2019. Ganim inherited several ongoing economic development initiatives from ex-Mayor Bill Finch.

    Published 5:19 PM EDT, December 19, 2018

  6. Welcome to Bridgelessport CT! The Congress st bridge has served as a backdrop to many campaigns for Joe G, yet still remains a symbol of abject failure. A physical symbol that represents the intentional division of communities, pitting one side of town Vs another. A symbol of 8 years failure. Bridgeport, stop buying the useless Bridges Joe Ganim has sold over and over. We are smarter than that.

    Let’s bridge the divide between the haves and have nots, let’s build a bridge to a better Bridgeport. Vote Gomes, September 12!


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