Expect lane closures on Interstate 95 near the Exit 9 bridge starting Monday and continuing for some unannounced time during weeknights (and overnight), the Connecticut Department of Transportation announced.
“The regular work schedule for this project,” which may be changed if ConnDOT thinks it’s necessary, is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. In other words, expect lane closures starting at 8 p.m., Monday nights and through Thursday evenings (ending by 5 a.m., Fridays) — every weeknight except Friday nights.
The reason: Crews are removing asbestos, lead paint — and bird crap (and maybe bat crap) from the bridge to get it ready for this summer’s scheduled removal of the old span and replacement with the span now under construction next to the bridge.
(ConnDOT didn’t actually use the phrase “bird crap” in its announcement — it preferred the phrase “guano abatement,” which might refer to either birds or bats or any other creatures pooping while situated the underside of the bridge.)
On the weekend of June 1 and 2, first one side of the span will be demolished and then one of the replacement spans now under construction (in the area ConnDOT officials call the “infield” on the northbound-side exit and entrance) will be moved into its place using special, extremely heavy duty vehicles. On June 8 and 9, the same thing will happen on the other side of the bridge.
ConnDOT describes the heavy lifting this way:
When fabrication is completed of the new east and west spans, they will be lifted and set in place on their piers and abutments using SPMT’s (Self Propelled Modular Trailer) during two weekend closures and diversions of I-95 and Route 1. One span will be removed and replaced per weekend closure.
During that time, traffic will be the mother of all messes. The highway won’t actually be closed, but only one lane will be available going around the bridge, mostly using exit lanes. U.S. Route 1 traffic going over bridge won’t be doing that be closed those weekends. Instead, long detours will be used. Stay away if you can (or go and look if you’re curious).
The bridge itself (named “Bridge 00037”) has never been replaced before, and is as old as the highway, constructed in 1958. ConnDOT officials say it’s reached the end of its useful life, and if it wasn’t replaced, it eventually would be dangerous.
The bridge construction, costing $14.9 million, is expected to be completed this November.