Workers this week continued demolition/construction on the $6 million project to replace the two dual-lane Interstate 84 bridges that pass over Center Street in the Riverside section of Sandy Hook.
The state Department of Transportation (DOT) recently created a “lane shift” on both the westbound and eastbound lanes of I-84 in the work area, allowing the second phase of the project to begin.
The state has been replacing the two bridges in stages so that I-84 traffic may continue traveling through the area while the project is underway.
The project began in the spring of 2013. Following a construction shutdown that occurred last winter, work on the bridge project resumed in April. The project is scheduled to be substantially completed by the end of November.
Some final work, including landscaping alongside I-84, is expected to be completed in the spring of 2015. DOT will be planting 250 various-size evergreen trees and shrubs along the I-84 embankment slopes and the median near the bridges.
Charles Murad, DOT’s project engineer, said July 9 that the project is on schedule. Mr Murad said that work shifts are added, as needed, to ensure that the bridge project will get completed on time.
Illumination is positioned at the site to allow crews to work in the nighttime, as needed.
Through-traffic on Center Street in the construction area is prohibited, as necessary, during the demolition/construction process. A set of detours has been set up in Riverside to allow traffic to flow on alternate routes in the area when Center Street is closed to through-traffic.
The eastbound and westbound traffic on I-84 is now flowing on two new spans that have been constructed since the project started. The widths of those two bridges will be increased as the project progresses.
Last October, state and local officials met with Riverside residents to learn their concerns about the bridge project and about the presence of I-84 in their neighborhood.
Such concerns include the high noise levels caused by I-84 traffic, and also the hazards posed by various objects falling from I-84 traffic which then land in the Riverside neighborhood.
Fencing will be installed on the new bridges to keep objects from landing in Riverside.
Riverside residents have long sought to have highway sound-barrier walls erected along I-84, but DOT officials have responded that there is no money now available for such sound-barrier walls.
In August 2012, the DOT awarded Manafort Brothers, Inc, a contract to reconstruct the two I-84 bridges.
The bridges, which were built in 1977 and 1978, have deteriorated sooner than anticipated, and thus need to be replaced. The bridges' prestressed concrete beams were found to be in poor condition due to cracking. The new bridges will be supported by conventional steel I-beams.
Bridges typically are designed to last for 75 years of traffic service.