CT's iconic Arrigoni Bridge from Middletown to Portland featured on new USPS stamp

PORTLAND — The distinctive, double-arched steel bridge that carries motorists and pedestrians over the Connecticut River between Middletown and Portland is being honored with a new stamp from the U.S. Postal Service.

The postage stamp depicts the 85-year-old, 1,200-foot-long bridge that is named for late legislator Charles J. Arrigoni, who served in the state House of Representatives from 1933-36 and state Senate from 1937-40.

Its entire length is 0.65 mile. The stamp shows the span from the Portland side close to sunset.

The Arrigoni, known locally as the Portland Bridge, first opened in 1938 and carries 35,000 vehicles per day over the river, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The pale blue-green painted structure is among seven new stamp subjects, including the Northern cardinal, civil rights leader U.S. Rep. John Lewis, skateboard art and children’s book author Tomie dePaola,

The new stamps "feature existing photographs of four different bridges that range from modern to historic, pedestrian to car-carrying, but all are important landmarks in their communities," according to the USPS.

Others are the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in Omaha, Neb.; Skydance Bridge in Oklahoma City; and Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge in Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline, Ill.

USPS Art Director Ethel Kessler designed the stamps with existing photographs. "As with all our stamp subjects, the art director chooses a variety of types and styles that could represent bridges across the USA," USPS spokesperson Amy Gibbs said in an email.

First Selectman Ryan Curley shared the news on his Facebook page Monday. He had no idea the bridge was being selected, but said it was exciting to see, especially since no one won an award when it was initially built.

“It’s such a unique piece of architecture,” he explained. “It’s an honor to be nationally recognized for such a critical piece of architecture for the country.

“It’s a really big deal,” Curley added, imagining the competition was stiff.

Every time he tells people he meets that he’s from Portland, they reference the bridge: “It’s an easy identifier," he said. He anticipates the public will be as eager to get their hands on some as he is. “I’m sure they’ll sell out when they become available locally,” he said.

The Arrigoni carries Routes 66 and 17 across the water. Its two distinctive 600-foot steel arches have the longest span length of any bridge in the state, according to the DOT. It stands 89 feet above the river.

When it opened, it was the most expensive bridge ever built in Connecticut at $3.5 million, the agency said.

The state recently completed a $46 million rehabilitation of the bridge. Work on the approach spans consisted of replacing the bridge decks, superstructure steel upgrades and repairs, as well as substructure repairs to improve the overall structural capacity, reliability and integrity of the bridge, according to the state agency.

Also, a new protective fence system ranging in height from eight to 12 feet was installed.

The Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee considers and selects submissions from mostly American or American-related subjects. No living people are honored on a stamp, the USPS said, adding that credit or compensation is not provided for the selected designs.

The postal service issues approximately 35 stamps each year, and a small percentage of those are created by artists new to stamp design, it said.

For information, visit bit.ly/3wGmqfx.