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Rochambeau Bridge Construction Update: Crane Assembly Underway



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Work continues on the first of two bridges that carry Interstate 84 over the Housatonic River. Collectively referred to as the Rochambeau Bridge, Bridges 01218 and 04180 are being fully rehabilitated. Currently, the eastern bridge is carrying all lanes of traffic while the western bridge is being renovated.

The bridge also straddles the boundary between Newtown and Southbury.

The existing bridges have wide shoulders, so there is sufficient room to place two-way traffic, with two lanes in each direction, on one of the bridges while the other is reconstructed, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The first major traffic shift has placed both directions of traffic on I-84 eastbound, utilizing crossovers currently built in the median of the highway. The I-84 westbound bridge is being partially demolished and will then be reconstructed while this shift is in place.

Once the new westbound bridge is completed, traffic will be shifted onto it while the I-84 eastbound bridge is reconstructed, with temporary crossovers built in a similar manner, in the median of I-84.

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 most recently completed work, as of July 26, according to the DOT, was the completion of the abutment stem pours; the clearing of a waste stockpile area, which transported material excavated from Pier 3 — the northernmost pier — to an approved disposal facility; and the completion of the Span 3 temporary shoring tower for steel erection, which is scheduled to begin the week of August 8.

Work scheduled for the week of August 2 included completing the assembly of a 300-ton crane; continued work on abutment back walls/cheek walls; setting up access for the delivery and storage of steel girders; and the beginning of accepting steel delivery on site. Steel delivery could begin by the end of the week of August 9, notes from the construction team indicated.

The project was awarded in May to Middlesex Corporation at a cost of $52 million. Work began in mid-June. It is scheduled to be completed by December 2023.

Motorists are advised that two lanes of traffic in each direction will be maintained during peak periods, from 6 am to 8 pm, with lane closures only allowed at night.

The contractor will be 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.

Westbound I-84 traffic can be seen traveling over the eastern span of the Rochambeau Bridge, as viewed from Oak Trail on Friday, July 30. Recent work on the $52 million project included the clearance of a waste stockpile area and the start of the assembly of a 300-ton crane. —Bee Photo, Hicks
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