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The 'Silver Bridge' Is Silver Again



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Crews have been busy for the past several months in an ongoing renovation of Silver Bridge in Sandy Hook, bringing the 79-year-old structure back up to specifications, including a silvery paint job that replaces the bridge’s former dark brown color.

The intricate trusswork of the 308-foot-long truss-arch bridge built in 1936 now shines in the light of day, with its hundreds of steel surfaces displaying strong highlights and shadows that were not apparent when it was dark brown. The bridge formerly had extensive surface rust stains, which have been removed.

Before it was painted brown, the bridge had been painted a silvery color, leading residents to call it Silver Bridge.

The span, which is officially known as State Bridge 00507, links Glen Road in Sandy Hook to River Road in Southbury, crossing the Lake Zoar section of the Housatonic River. Silver Bridge is about 6,000 feet upriver of Interstate-84’s Rochambeau Bridge.

Matthew Cleary, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) supervising engineer for the project, estimated this week that about 75 percent of the $4.47 million bridge renovation project has been done.

After Thanksgiving, the temporary traffic signals, which have controlled alternating one-way traffic at the bridge for the past several months, will be shrouded and normal two-way traffic will resume.

Two-way traffic flow on the bridge will continue through the winter. The bridge renovation project will resume in the spring. The DOT’s construction season officially starts on April 1. It is expected that the bridge project will be completed sometime next June.

Work that remains to be done on the bridge includes replacing a steel part located below the bridge’s deck, Mr Cleary said. Performing that work will involve stabilizing the structure so that the worn part can be removed and replaced with a new part.

Also remaining to be done are some bridge deck repairs and improvements. Concrete patches will be made, where necessary, in the concrete deck that lies below the asphalt surface of the roadway on the bridge.

New concrete will serve as the roadway surface on the renovated bridge. The resurfacing project is planned to eliminate ponding problems that have occurred on the roadway.

The need to improve the bridge deck will require that the bridge be completely closed to traffic for seven to ten days next spring, Mr Cleary said. The schedule for that road closure has not yet been set.

The DOT will provide advance notice of the full bridge closure. The Rochambeau Bridge at I-84 is expected to serve as a detour while Silver Bridge is completely closed to traffic.

McNamee Construction Corp of Lincolndale, N.Y., is doing the $4.47 million bridge renovation project for the DOT.

The DOT last made major improvements on Silver Bridge in 1986.

Silver Bridge is listed on the Connecticut Historic Bridge Inventory and is eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. The span carries an estimated 3,100 vehicles daily.

There are few bridge crossings of the Housatonic River in this area. Other crossings are the Route 133 bridge, which links Brookfield to Bridgewater, and the Route 34 bridge at Stevenson Dam, which links Monroe to Oxford. 

The intricate trusswork of the 308-foot-long Silver Bridge has been repainted, with the span again having a silvery color. Until recently, the bridge had been painted brown. The new paint job is part of an ongoing $4.47 million state renovation of the 1936 bridge, which spans the Lake Zoar section of the Housatonic River, connecting Glen Road in Sandy Hook to River Road in Southbury. The bridge, which has carried alternating one-way traffic for the past several months, will soon carry two-way traffic again.      
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