By Thane Grauel
WESTPORT — Traffic can be challenging most any day in Saugatuck, but fasten your seatbelts for two upcoming weekends when the Interstate 95 spans over Saugatuck Avenue will be replaced.
The state Department of Transportation has finally announced when it will squeeze I-95 down to two lanes in each direction and close all of Saugatuck Avenue for the high-tech bridge swap.
Expect major disruptions:
- 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, through 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 23.
- 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, through 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 6.
If you haven’t noticed the prep work being done for the bridge replacement, you haven’t been paying attention. Vertical supports were erected early in the summer adjacent to the bridge near Charles Street, followed by beefy girders. Those were for the new northbound span.
The same followed in August on the other side of the bridge for the southbound span.
In recent weeks, concrete for the new decks was poured and smoothed.
The plan is to, on different weekends, close a side of I-95, demo the old span, then “slide” the new one into place.
The DOT told the Westport Journal in August the closure dates would likely be in October, and known around Labor Day. The actual closures came with barely a week’s notice, so the schedule appears a little behind.
The good news is it should all be cleared up before Election Day, Nov. 7, and long before the highly traveled Thanksgiving weekend.
This “slide-in” method is a part of method known as Advanced Bridge Construction. Watch a video of a similar DOT project in Southington here.
The local work is part of the DOT’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 project area extends from Norwalk to the Saugatuck River Bridge in Westport.
The bridges over Franklin Street and the Saugatuck River will also have significant repairs, though far short of replacement.
Thane Grauel grew up in Westport and has been a journalist in Fairfield County and beyond for 35 years. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about us here.