What locally has long been known as “The Silver Bridge” will regain its argentine luster after the state completes an estimated $5 million renovation project intended to physically rehabilitate the steel-truss span at Glen Road, which crosses the Lake Zoar section of the Housatonic River, linking Sandy Hook to Southbury.
A state Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesman said this week that the two-lane, 308-foot-long bridge, which currently is painted brown, will be repainted a silvery color, based on local requests.
For what it’s worth, the state refers to the span as “Bridge 00507.”
For decades, the bridge had a silvery paint color, but a past bridge improvement project resulted in the bridge being painted brown. That brown surface now shows the signs of wind and weathering, with large patches of rust scattered across span’s steel trusses. Residents have nevertheless continued to refer to the span by its earlier color.
The bridge renovation project is scheduled to start in April 2015 and take about one year to complete.
Asked for comment on the upcoming bridge project, First Selectman Pat Llodra said April 16, “I suggested that [color] change to be more in line with history of the bridge and its known ‘name’ among Sandy Hook/Newtown residents.”
Some residents at a past DOT informational session on the project urged that the bridge again be painted a silvery color.
Beyond the color change planned for the span, Mrs Llodra said, “DOT was very responsive to public safety concerns raised by Southbury and Newtown about the length of time that the bridge would be closed in its original [renovation] proposal, and the difficulty of detours should an event occur on the I-84 crossing of Lake Zoar during the time of this [Glen Road] bridge repair.”
Mrs Llodra said that two public safety issues that local officials have raised with DOT are that Southbury is a mutual aid partner for Sandy Hook fire calls, and Southbury ambulance crews need to have ready access to Danbury in case of emergency medical issues.
The first selectman explained that DOT representatives have met with local officials and presented bridge planning revisions that better meet local officials’ concerns.
The final bridge renovation plans, including the construction time schedules and detours, have not been finalized, Mrs Llodra said.
It is thought that I-84’s Rochambeau Bridge, which crosses the Housatonic River about 6,000 feet south of the Glen Road bridge, will be a component of a detour for traffic that would normally use the Glen Road bridge.
Besides the Rochambeau Bridge, there are few bridge crossings of the Housatonic River in this area. The nearest crossing to the north is the Route 133 bridge, which links Brookfield to Bridgewater, and the nearest crossing to the south is the Route 34 bridge at Stevenson Dam, which links Monroe to Oxford.
Mrs Llodra said that when all planning details for the Glen Road bridge project become available, the information would be publicized by the town to ensure that residents know and understand the project’s implications and constraints during the bridge’s closure for renovation.
DOT Spokesman: Revised Plans Will Not Compromise Renovation
DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick said the Glen Road bridge repair project will include repairs to the span’s steel trusses, repainting steel members, the cleaning and painting of bridge bearings, and renovations to the structure’s concrete deck.
The DOT’s original plans for the bridge’s improvement have been modified, reducing the estimated cost of the project from approximately $6 million to $5 million. Planning changes include repairing the bearings and repairing the deck, instead of replacing the bearings and replacing the deck, he said.
During much of the bridge project, alternating two-way traffic would cross the bridge, but during periods when certain bridge construction work is under way, the bridge would be completely closed to traffic, he said.
The changes in bridge renovation plans mean that the time period during which the bridge needs to be completely closed to traffic will be shorter than would have been necessary if the bridge deck were to have been completely replaced, he said.
Mr Nursick said that the revised bridge plans will not compromise the quality of the bridge renovation project.
The project is planned to start in April 2015 and be completed within 12 months, he said, adding that some work may occur during the winter of 2014-15.
The bridge’s closure to all traffic likely would occur sometime near the end of the project, he said.
Mr Nursick said that no detour for the Glen Road bridge would be in effect throughout the winter of 2014-15.
The DOT will be putting the project out to bid, he said.
The bridge is listed by DOT as “structurally deficient,” resulting in the span receiving a “poor” rating, requiring that it be rehabilitated.
The span was constructed in 1936. The DOT performed a major improvement project on the bridge in 1986.
The bridge is listed on the Connecticut Historic Bridge Inventory and is eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. The span carries about 3,100 vehicles daily.
In June 2011, DOT held an informational session to explain the bridge improvement project. At that time, it was thought that the bridge renovation project would start in April 2013.