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Crews Restore Structural Integrity of Drawbridge Over Housatonic River

Wed March 09, 2022 - Northeast Edition #6
Ken Liebeskind -CEG Correspondent


The Washington Bridge is the longest drawbridge on the Boston Post Road, a steel trunnion-bearing bascule drawbridge that is 859 ft. in length and 43 ft. in width, featuring two lanes in each direction for vehicular traffic and a sidewalk for pedestrians.
The Washington Bridge is the longest drawbridge on the Boston Post Road, a steel trunnion-bearing bascule drawbridge that is 859 ft. in length and 43 ft. in width, featuring two lanes in each direction for vehicular traffic and a sidewalk for pedestrians.
The Washington Bridge is the longest drawbridge on the Boston Post Road, a steel trunnion-bearing bascule drawbridge that is 859 ft. in length and 43 ft. in width, featuring two lanes in each direction for vehicular traffic and a sidewalk for pedestrians. The work on the bridge is for the rehabilitation of the concrete and structural steel members to restore the structure integrity and extend the operational life of the bridge. The existing structural steel, concrete and mechanical and electrical systems are in need of repair. The equipment Mohawk Northeast is using on the job includes a Model A-62 Aspen snooper. The renovation of the Washington Bridge, which carries U.S. Route 1 over the Housatonic River in Milford and Stratford, Conn., began in mid-August 2021 and is set for completion in late November 2022.

The renovation of the Washington Bridge, which carries U.S. Route 1 over the Housatonic River in Milford and Stratford, Conn., began in mid-August 2021 and is set for completion in late November 2022.

Mohawk Northeast of Plantsville, Conn., is the contractor.

According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), "The work on the bridge is for the rehabilitation of the concrete and structural steel members to restore the structure integrity and extend the operational life of the bridge. The existing structural steel, concrete and mechanical and electrical systems are in need of repair. As a result, major structural steel movable span repairs will take place to restore areas of section lost to rust and pitting.

"Substructure and superstructure concrete are in a similar state, therefore repairs to the abutments, wingwall, piers, arches, deck and prestressed deck units will also commence. This scope of work will include identifying and removing areas of degraded concrete and replacement with new concrete.

"To improve operating efficiency of the structure, electrical and mechanical components will be replaced and refurbished, such as overall electrical upgrades throughout the structure, upgrades to the control desk, improved navigation lighting and replacement of limit switches. Mechanically, new primary motors, upgrades to the span locks, and new and refurbished crankshafts will be installed."

On Jan. 28. a CTDOT project summary sheet stated, "108 days of contract time have elapsed with minimal contract work being performed to date."

Kafi Rouse, a CTDOT spokesperson, added, "The field investigation for the structural steel repairs is currently taking place, because of this, the construction work is minimal."

While the work may have gotten off to a slow start, CTDOT noted that rehabilitation of the bridge will ultimately feature:

  • the replacement of the existing deck system with a UHPC (ultra-high performance concrete) filled grid decking;
  • replacement of roadway, sidewalk and stageline stringers;
  • replacement of steel curbing and metal bridge rail;
  • replacement of steel grid catwalk with fiberglass grating sidewalk;
  • replacement of mechanical and electrical systems;
  • full-depth repair of concrete deck and approaches;
  • surface concrete repairs for abutments, wingwalls and parapets;
  • structural concrete repairs for arches, ribs, columns, pier caps and diaphragms;
  • crack repairs by epoxy injection; and
  • installation of overlay and membrane waterproofing and asphaltic joint replacement.

The project is scheduled to proceed in three stages: the north section of the bridge, the mid-section of the bridge and the south section of the bridge.

The construction equipment Mohawk Northeast is using on the job includes a Model A-62 Aspen snooper.

The last renovation of the Washington bridge was an $18.5 million overhaul in 2007, which included fiberglass fenders for the bridge piers, installation of a generator, a new bridge control system and an overhaul of the mechanical apparatus.

The projected cost for the 2021-2022 rehabilitation is $13,595,074. The construction phase is funded with 80 percent Federal NHPP (National Highway Performance Program) funds matched by 20 percent state bridge bonds.

The Washington Bridge is the longest drawbridge on the Boston Post Road, a steel trunnion-bearing bascule drawbridge that is 859 ft. in length and 43 ft. in width, featuring two lanes in each direction for vehicular traffic and a sidewalk for pedestrians.

Although the CTDOT project report criticized the construction pace as slow, it concluded its project outlook as "Good. First baseline schedule update shows the project is anticipated to be completed on time." CEG




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