Update: Rochambeau Bridge Rehabilitation Project Is Running On Time And On Budget
The rehabilitation of the Rochambeau Bridge, which consists of the full replacement of Bridges 01218 and 04180 (collectively called the “Rochambeau Bridge”) — which carry I-84 over the Housatonic River and straddles the boundary between Newtown and Southbury — is on time and on budget, according to the project’s public outreach specialist.
Ginger Manning told The Newtown Bee the original contract completion is November 2023, “which Middlesex is on track to finish on or before.” The project was awarded in May 2020 to Middlesex Corporation at a cost of $52,873,000.
Per the construction contract, two lanes of traffic in each direction are being maintained during peak periods, from 6 am to 8 pm, with lane closures only allowed at night.
The contractor is allowed to halt I-84 traffic for a period not to exceed ten minutes to perform necessary work for the removal of existing bridge superstructure, and for the delivery, erection, and setting of structural steel, between midnight and 5 am on all non-holiday days.
The existing bridges have extra-wide shoulders, so there has been sufficient room to place bidirectional traffic, with two lanes in each direction, on one of the bridges while the other bridge is reconstructed. The first major traffic shift placed both directions of I-84 traffic on I-84 eastbound utilizing crossovers built in the median of I-84. The I-84 westbound bridge was partially demolished and reconstructed while that shift was in place.
Work in the river is taking place using trestles and barges. A minimum 75-foot channel width for boaters is being maintained at all times, except for major demolition and steel erection work, which requires the advanced approval of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), US Coast Guard, and Lake Zoar Authority.
The project reached a milestone in July 2022, when the westbound bridge was completed and work began constructing a new crossover. The crossover allows east and westbound traffic on the new bridge.
According to project notes, steel girders were put into place in August and September on the eastbound bridge. In October, workers installed stay-in-place formwork and began installation of deck reinforcing steel.
In November and December, Middlesex employees and subcontractors completed deck rebar installation and the pouring of concrete deck sections.
Crews closed the year by forming and pouring the concrete bridge parapets and safety curb.
Since the beginning of the year, crews have continued to install parapet and safety curb reinforcing steep, form abutment wingwall extension walls, form and pour the bridge parapet and safety curb, remove overhang brackets, began installation of permanent bridge drainage downspouts, and monitor and control environmental best management practices, or BMPs.
Plans For 2023
Manning shared plans from the engineers for the work expected to be completed this year:
*Continuing to form and pour concrete bridge parapets and safety curb throughout the winter, as weather conditions allow;
*Winter removal of the temporary work trestle;
*Install concrete bridge deck waterproofing membrane in the spring once weather conditions meet the product specifications;
*Pave the eastbound bridge deck, and install line striping, guardrail, chain link fence, and bridge safety fence;
*Implement traffic shift to return eastbound traffic onto the new bridge and the final eastbound alignment;
*Mill, pave, removal of temporary median barrier and final line striping of the westbound bridge deck for final westbound alignment;
*Removal of the median crossovers; and
*Restoration of the median including installation of median swale and final drainage structures, landscaping plantings, topsoil and seeding.
The Rochambeau Bridge was one of two spans identified in September 2018 in a statewide report on structurally deficient bridges. The report identified the eastbound span of the Rochambeau Bridge as one of two of the top ten most heavily traveled structurally deficient bridges in Fairfield County.
Kevin Nursick, director of communications for Connecticut DOT, told The Newtown Bee that year that it is normal and expected for each bridge to reach a point where it has become structurally deficient.
“This is not a safety issue, but a benchmark point at which the bridge’s condition triggers an encompassing project to either rehabilitate or replace it,” he said.
Although both bridges are referred to locally as the Rochambeau Bridge, the westbound span was renamed in 2009 to honor a late Newtown resident and Connecticut State Trooper.
Lt Thomas Carney, commanding officer of Troop L in Litchfield, was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer on December 6, 1982, while standing on the shoulder of I-84 near Exit 15 in Southbury with a stopped motorist. Lt Carney was on his way home, assisting the motorist.
Managing Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at email@example.com.