By Thane Grauel
WESTPORT — Construction of the new Interstate 95 southbound span over Saugatuck Avenue is under way.
Vertical support structures have been erected north of the existing bridge.
In the coming weeks, huge girders will be hoisted into place, and the structure readied for pouring of a concrete deck. It appears that two utility poles will have to be removed first.
The girders are not yet at the staging area — the patch of land between 95, the southbound exit ramp and Saugatuck Avenue.
The same process is further along on the other side of I-95. There the girders and related components have been in place a couple weeks. Scaffolding with a staircase provide worker access to the elevated work site.
The work is part of the state Department of Transportation’s $104 million I-95 Norwalk Westport Project. The DOT is running the project. Yonkers Contracting Co. is doing the work. The Federal Highway Administration is funding 90 percent of it, the state 10 percent.
The existing bridge might seem like one structure, but it’s actually two.
Sometime in October, the northbound bridge will be demolished, then the new span hoisted up and slid into place atop new concrete footings. All I-95 traffic will be detoured to two lanes in each direction over the southbound bridge.
A similar process will take place on the southbound side on a separate weekend. All Connecticut Turnpike traffic will be detoured to the new northbound span. Saugatuck Avenue will be closed while the spans are demolished and slid into place.
The exact weekends have not been set, but the state should have a good idea around Labor Day, DOT Project Engineer Michael Rosenblatt told the Westport Journal earlier this month.
Project has many goals
The project also includes less-extensive work on the bridges over Franklin Street and the Saugatuck River. Other work includes:
• Reconstruction of the center median and right shoulders, along with resurfacing of the highway mainline and ramps at Interchanges 16 and 17.
• Reconstruction of median consistent with other stretches of I-95, to provide a 6-foot-wide capped concrete barrier section.
• Widening of left and right shoulders where possible.
• Improving drainage by replacing and rerouting drainage structures.
• Replacing existing highway illumination system.
• Installation of realigned traffic Incident Management System.
• Installation of new guide rails.
• Utilization of wet retro-reflective pavement markings to provide increased visibility in wet conditions.
Traffic impacts in coming days
The DOT warns motorists that periodic closures and detours will occur Monday through Wednesday through Sept. 15, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
• Exit 17 southbound off-ramp: Traffic will be detoured to Exit 18 off ramp to Sherwood Island Connector and then to Route 1 and Riverside Avenue.
• Exit 17 northbound on-ramp: Traffic will be detoured via Riverside Avenue to Route 1 to the Sherwood Island Connector to Exit 18 on-ramp.
Read the Westport Journal’s recent report on the project here.