Swing That Bridge Around!

The Cribari (aka Bridge Street) bridge was built in 1884. It’s the oldest surviving movable bridge in Connecticut.

It doesn’t move a lot these days — you wouldn’t either, if you were 131 years old — but it was opened today.

Alert “06880” reader JP Vellotti was there. He took this photo (click on or hover over for a fantastic enlargement):

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

JP reports:

“It was quite a spectacle. Police, traffic agents, crowds gathered to watch. Boats went under. Kayakers and SUPs paddled nearby.

“It took 1 minute to open, 1 minute to close. Thankfully it didn’t get stuck.”


9 responses to “Swing That Bridge Around!

  1. Kathie Bennewitz

    How I would have loved to see that! Very cool.

  2. Laz - Dan Lasley

    I remember seeing them hand crank that around. 4 guys I think. Clever engineering.

  3. Still the drill.

  4. This is the only hand cranked movable bridge left in the State of Connecticut and it’s an engineering marvel. The father and son team who worked out the various design challenges that allow this bridge to safely do what it does were leaders in their field. Owing to its significance to the nation, the Town of Westport succeed in placing the bridge on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. It’s my understanding that the Marpe administration, is currently entertaining its replacement – to which I offer this two word advisory: Golden Shadows.

  5. The bridge underwent a restoration in ’87 or so. As the 1985 NYT article cites, it was in need of structural repairs which were the basis for the proposal to replace it with a modern structure. Thankfully the old design was preserved. That said, I seem to recall that when they finished the rebuild, a marina owner further north (what is now the rowing club property) checked it’s measurements and found that it had been lowered by 2 inches from it’s original MHW clearance. He made the state go back and raise it to the original spec, extending the construction period by several months. Does anyone remember it that way too?

    • Robbie Guimond

      if im correct it was 2′ not 2″ and they only raised it back up 18″ … it was kind of a fiasco, they could of restored it and set it at a height that would of allowed boat traffic for the majority of river activity without openings but they just couldn’t get it together .
      maybe this time they will get it right without losing this part of saugatuck.

  6. Dan, have you noticed that shot of the bridge is the perfect dimensions for a stint as the 06880 blog header?