Drivers faced gridlock on the southbound side of the Gold Star Bridge on Friday morning as crews switched from working on the left side of the bridge to the right.
Delays in Groton backed up from the bridge onto Gold Star Highway. As of 11:45 a.m. Friday, traffic was still moving slow for miles.
Temporarily, the bridge in New London will go down to two lanes of traffic as Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) crews work to re-stripe the road while it’s still warm and the ground is still dry before the snow expected on Saturday.
Workers also have to move more than 6,000 feet of concrete barriers, according to Keith Schoppe, project engineer for the CTDOT.
Work on the I-95 southbound bridge will start Thursday night and by the end of the weekend, drivers will be using the newly paved three left lanes, Schoppe said, adding the commute and merging should be easier.
Expect delays in the area throughout the weekend and allow extra time, especially with the snowy weather.
Thru-traffic will keep to the two left lanes. The right lane will be a dedicated exit-only lane for Route 32, according to a news release by the CTDOT.
All exit ramps will stay open.
"I advise (drivers) to be patient. Leave space between the car in front of you," Schoppe said.
The Gold Star Highway on-ramp will now be a dedicated lane and not need to merge into traffic. Currently, drivers have to merge right with a short entry lane to get onto the bridge.
Those coming from the Bridge Street on-ramp will need to merge into the right lane of traffic.
State police will be on hand Friday and there’s a wrecker service if needed, Schoppe said.
Construction began on the Gold Star Bridge the week of April 17. Work includes structural steel repairs, concrete deck patching, joint replacement and paving.
The entire project cost $26 million and is scheduled to be completed Nov. 30, 2018.