By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and state Rep. Dorinda Borer were set to “light the bridge” to mark the official opening of the new Cove River pedestrian bridge.
At press time, the public lighting celebration was set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Sea Bluff Beach’s new upper parking lot, just off Captain Thomas Boulevard.
“This magnificent bridge will shine as a beacon for those on land and at sea, highlighting Bradley Point Park and Sea Bluff Beach as a major shoreline destination,” Rossi said. “I’m excited to see it lit up for the first time with my fellow Westies.”
The pedestrian bridge features decorative lighting designed by Apex Lighting Solutions of Wethersfield, according to the bridge’s project manager, Keith Lundgrin of Terry Contracting & Materials Inc. of Riverhead, New York.
Lundgrin said the LED lighting, mounted on the arch and controlled by a phone app, is programmed to change colors and display color patterns and sequences on the bridge for holidays.
The 88-foot-long, prefabricated aluminum truss bridge connects Bradley Point Park to Sea Bluff Beach and will allow pedestrian access over the Cove River for the first time in more than 20 years, Rossi said.
The white powder-coated bridge, manufactured by GatorBridge of Sanford, Florida, replaces the original concrete footbridge built in 1938.
The Frankson Fence Co. of North Haven fabricated and installed a matching guardrail at each end of the bridge.
The Sea Bluff parking lot, though not completely finished, has been “significantly” upgraded with gray, permeable brick pavers that allow water to penetrate the joints and drain into the gravel base with no runoff, Lundgrin said.
The lot will also include new Victorian lampposts, along with fresh plantings this fall, he said.
The pedestrian bridge complements the new Cove River tide gate system, which became operational in late 2021.
The bridge and tide gate projects, which began in March 2021, are part of the city’s Coastal Resilience Plan and were paid for by a $3.9 million state grant secured by Borer, D-West Haven.
“I’m thrilled with the way this project turned out on multiple levels,” Borer said. “The new self-regulating flood gates will improve water flow and our ecosystem; the pedestrian bridge will connect our beach paths; there is more accessibility to our Veterans Memorial and Charlotte Bacon’s playground; and finally, it’s a feather in the cap to the sightline of our beautiful coast. I know generations to come will enjoy the results of this project, and I hope the community comes out to celebrate it with us.”
For the tide gate project, Terry replaced the river’s deteriorated wooden gates with new steel gates under the bridge on Captain Thomas Boulevard.
The Cove River flows into Long Island Sound through the tide-regulated gates, which abut the Charlotte Bacon “Where Angels Play” playground at Sea Bluff Beach.
City Engineer Abdul Quadir said the tide gate system comprises two flap gates and two self-regulating gates that enable the city to control the tidal height within an inch to keep the salt marsh healthy and prevent flooding.
In high tide, the flap gates close to prevent the Sound from flooding the marsh on both sides of the river; in low tide, they open to allow the river to flow into the Sound, Quadir said.