The Connecticut Department of Transportation has two major bridge projects planned this weekend. One project is on Interstate 95 in Stamford and the other is in Waterford.
“I-395 will be closed at that location starting tonight and it will last for a duration of ten days,” said Kevin Nursick, spokesman for the Connecticut DOT.
This bridge rehab process will be broken into two, 10-day closures. The first begins Friday at 6 p.m. All lanes of I-395 at exit 2 where the highway crosses over Route 85 will be shutdown. The second phase will be in mid-July.
While the I-395 bridge is closed, traffic will be diverted using the off and on ramps at the closure. Route 85 will remain open. Still, those who travel these roads daily, are concerned.
“I drive by it every day. I take 85 to actually get here so I’m kind of curious how it’s gonna affect me,” said Justin Forester who lives in West Hartford but works in the area.
Meanwhile, major delays are expected on Interstate 95 in Stamford, as construction crews begin work replacing the Route 1 bridge. North and southbound lanes of I-95 will be closed at exit 9, with traffic being diverted using the on and off ramps.
The work is expected to be completed over the next two weekends with lanes re-opening during weekdays.
For both Waterford and Stamford projects, the DOT is using what they call “ABC” or Accelerated Bridge Construction. Pre-fabricated bridge structures will be used, effectively shortening the construction time.
“I kind of think of it as kind of ripping the Band-Aid off quickly as opposed to doing it slowly,” explained Nursick. “It stings, but we get it done really, really fast. The public really seems to support that.”
With traffic congestion, business owners may see lighter volume.
“Clearly it’s gonna have an impact, but I think most businesses and residents recognize that we have to prepare our infrastructure,” said Tony Sheridan, President & CEO Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce.
While the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce is located in Waterford, Sheridan worries more about the construction in Stamford. Perhaps because of the nearby casinos which draw from throughout the region.
“Interstate 95 is already maxed out and just having to divert that traffic is going to be a serious problem,” said Sheridan. “What’ll happen here is we’re very involved in tourism and so it will have an impact. Anyone from NYC this weekend coming to CT will most likely cancel their plans.”
While rebuilding and rehabilitating infrastructure around the state, the DOT has one recommendation for motorists this weekend.
“It’s better if folks avoid the areas if they can,” said Nursick, “that way the people that need to be traveling here can get through there with the least amount of congestion possible.”