WESTON, Conn. – Weston celebrated the reopening of the bridge on Route 57 that was rebuilt using a new replacement method that the Department of Transportation hopes to use on other projects around the state.
Dubbed the “Bridge-in-a-Backpack” technique, the new bridge replacement method is designed accelerate construction and reduce costs, said DOT Commissioner James Redeker. The technique uses fiber reinforced polymer tubes to eliminate the need for heavy construction equipment, steel beams or freight trucks.
“This is a bridge that is a symbolic bridge for the state of Connecticut in terms of what needs to be done, how it needs to get done, and the kind of partnerships it takes to make it successful,” said Redeker.
Construction of a new bridge could have taken a year or two, but instead was accomplished in 16 weeks using the new method, Redeker said. The bridge was built in 1933 and was deemed “structurally deficient,” meaning that it was still safe to use, but had reached a point where continued repairs were less cost effective than building a new bridge.
Redeker said that around 4,000 bridges across the state are either at or beyond their useful life, and that innovations like the “Bridge-in-a-Backpack” method will be necessary to maintain the state’s infrastructure. Gov. Dannel Malloy has recently proposed $100 billion in transportation projects for the state, which includes $25 billion for bridge replacement.
“Bridges are an important part of our infrastructure and we need to find ways like this to get them done, to be quick about it and cost effective as well,” he said.
Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein thanked Redeker for streamlining the process to get the bridge funding and construction approved.
“I am so appreciative of the fact that the state DOT under your leadership has taken a proactive stance in repairing our infrastructure and making the necessary improvements we need to keep our state strong,” she said.
Sen. Toni Boucher said that transportation infrastructure is vital to Connecticut business, and added that she appreciated the hard work of the DOT staff who completed the project.
“This is an opportunity for us to say how much we appreciate what you do on a daily basis for our state, for its economy and for the people who live here.”
To see a time-lapse video of the construction of the bridge, which began in July, click here .
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