WESTPORT, Conn. -- The Town of Westport has been awarded a FEMA grant to replace the aging Saugatuck Bridge, First Selectman Jim Marpe announced.
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th District) and U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy (both D-Conn.) applauded the grant.
Totaling $1,302,225, the Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be used to replace the wooden bridge on Harbor Road leading to the Saugatuck Island community of Westport.
“During Hurricane Sandy, rising waters limited access to and from the Saugatuck Island community. This joint effort by FEMA and the State will replace the wooden bridge to the island with one that can serve ambulances and first responders during the event of a future storm,” the statement said.
Marpe applauded the grant.
“Hurricane Sandy devastated much of our coastal communities. We are pleased to support such federal and state projects to better prepare for serious weather and ensure the safety of our people and sustainability of our region.” “The Town of Westport is very appreciative that this FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant has been awarded,” he said.
“While it went through several iterations with FEMA, we are very pleased with the positive outcome. We appreciate the support Senators Blumenthal and Murphy and Congressman Himes and their staff members provided in keeping the application moving through the necessary approval process.
Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Andy Kingsbury and Town Engineer Peter Ratkiewich led the town’s efforts to apply for this grant on behalf of the Saugatuck Island Taxing District. The application process began almost immediately after Superstorm Sandy.
“During high tides, and especially during severe storms like Sandy and Irene, our emergency vehicles can’t use either entrance into Saugatuck Island,” Kingsbury said.
“In the case of a fire and strong winds, which occurred so devastatingly in New York during Sandy, many homes and residents would be at risk. This funding for a new bridge will make sure we can access the community during all times to keep our people and property safe.”
This grant funding will provide 75 percent of the total cost of removing the old bridge and reconstruction of the bridge, which will be rated for emergency vehicle and heavy equipment loads.
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