Connecticut Bridges Built Using Accelerated Bridge Construction

The technique used to build and install the FIU- Sweetwater bridge which collapsed Thursday in Miami has also been used to replace many bridges in Connecticut.

The largest of these projects to date is the replacement of the bridge carrying Interstate 84 over Marion Ave. in Southington. Contractors built much of the bridge on the side of the road and ultimately slid each span into place over the course of two weekends in 2014, significantly shortening a construction project that could have taken years and cause many traffic-related headaches.

DOT Spokesperson said Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) is specifically applied in projects where it can help avoid a major disruption to drivers. "More often than not, it's more expensive than conventional construction, but you're offsetting the cost because the impact to the motoring public is being reduced," Nursick said.

ABC was a factor in the design and construction of the FIU-Sweetwater bridge which collapsed Thursday. It is not yet known what caused the bridge, which was set to feature a novel design and new construction materials, to ultimately fail.

Bridge expert, Prof. Michael Chajes of the University of Delaware, doubts the ABC process is the direct cause of the collapse, and told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, "it doesn't have any safety risk beyond what you normally would have," using conventional construction techniques.

Chajes added that the FIU-Sweetwater bridge stood for several days after it was slid into place Saturday, and said that fact, "tells me that something occurred on Thursday that initiated this event."

For now, Chajes said Connecticut's bridges that were constructed with ABC processes and are already in place should be safe.

"There's nothing dangerous about that technique. It should not make you fear that any bridge that you seen in the past constructed that way has any issues with it," Chajes said.

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