Bridge now in place at center of Meriden Park

(WTNH/ Kevin Pflaumer)

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH)– News 8 got an exclusive sneak peak at a big construction project in downtown Meriden. Years ago, the section of Meriden by the train tracks was factories, then it was a mall, and for years it was nothing much. Now it is turning into HUB Park, and at the center of that park is going to be big bridge.

(WTNH/ Kevin Pflaumer)
(WTNH/ Kevin Pflaumer)

Early this morning, that bridge moved the last few feet of what has been a long journey. It came to Meriden on trucks in pieces all the way from Alabama.

“They had to go around all these states and they couldn’t go through West Virginia,” explains Joe LaRosa, owner of LaRosa Construction, the Meriden company leading the park construction effort. “Two thousand miles later, they arrived here on Tuesday morning.”

Bolted together and hoisted in the air, the main bridge span weighs 60 tons. It’s designed to take pedestrians over three brooks that people haven’t seen in years. That water naturally flows through this area.

“But in the ’50s they enclosed them in culverts underground,” said LaRosa. “What would happen is Meriden would flood out, so that was the big issue.”

After decades underground in tunnels, that water will now flow above ground, and the whole park is designed to become one big floodplain, if necessary. Not the bridge, of course. It will take people over the water and right to the Meriden train station and transit center, which is also getting a full makeover. The park will also have an amphitheater in one corner for outdoor concerts. It’s 14 acres all told, with all the amenities.

“There’s a turf area there so they can have farmers on the green,” said LaRosa. “Or Gil can come down here and do his show.”

In addition to all the great things planned for HUB Park, hub means center, so with it at the center, there is going to be all kinds of new construction around the park. The nearby Mills apartments are getting torn down and replaced. Some of the construction is already underway to put new stores and housing nearby.

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