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BRIDGEWATER — Local drivers will again have an easier time traveling to Bridgewater now that a project to improve a section of Route 133 has been completed. For the past four months, drivers have been unable to use a 1.3-mile segment of the state road, which was part of the most direct route into the small town to the northwest of Newtown.
Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Commissioner Jim Redeker, joined by state and local officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, announced July 14 that the Route 133 safety improvement project in Bridgewater was completed one month ahead of schedule and the roadway was reopened to through traffic.
“Keeping our roads and drivers safe is a top priority for CTDOT and so we constantly strive to improve and maintain the safety of our highways,” said Commissioner Redeker. “While road reconstruction can be a major inconvenience to the traveling public, the fact that we completed this project ahead of schedule while also reducing delays is the result of a true team effort with the partnership of Richards Corporation and the Town of Bridgewater.”
The project, awarded to Richards Corporation, consisted of resurfacing 5,200 feet of roadway, including realigning and fully reconstructing 3,300 feet of roadway.
In addition, safety upgrades were made throughout the project limits including addressing roadway drainage trouble areas and installing new guide railing running from the Lake Lillinonah Bridge to Wewaka Brook Road.
In addition, a 750-foot-long retaining wall was built on the west side of Route 133 to protect the road from erosion. While building the retaining wall, CTDOT worked with the Town of Bridgewater to ensure the structure would be aesthetically pleasing and added a decorative fence and artistic staining to the concrete formliner.
“Bridgewater residents will welcome the reopening of Route 133 and traffic patterns returning to normal,” said Bridgewater First Selectman Curtis Read. “The repairs were definitely necessary and CTDOT and its contractors did outstanding work to get it open again early.”
The start date for the overall project was September 23, 2016; however, advance utility relocations were completed within the five weeks preceding the beginning of construction. Project staff worked through the winter shutdown period — from October 2016 to March 2017 — to clear trees and excavate rock. The Route 133 detour was implemented on March 13, in order to complete the new roadway, which took four months, ending on July 14. This was about a month ahead of the scheduled required opening date of August 1, 2017.
The project’s construction cost was approximately $6.7 million, of which 80 percent was funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as part of an 80/20 cost share with the state.
“Both Richards Corporation and the Department of Transportation worked together on the Bridgewater project as a partnership,” said Jeffrey Levins, VP of operations at Richards Corporation. “It was through open communication, respect for each other, and exceptional efforts of all parties involved that this project will open ahead of schedule.”
The average traffic on this section of Route 133 is about 3,000 vehicles per day. In advance of the project, Route 133 also underwent utility work that consisted of replacing 3,000 feet of conduit and various utility vaults, along with the installation of 25,000 feet of new fiber optic cable. The project details are as follows:
· Milled and resurfaced 2,000 feet of road;
· Installed 6,000 feet of new box beam guide rail;
· Replaced all existing drainage (basins, pipes, and headwalls);
· Full depth realignment and reconstruction of 3,300 feet of roadway;
· Built 750-foot-long retaining wall to prevent erosion;
· Excavated more than 20,000 cubic yards of rock (trench, channel, structure);
· Excavated more than 10,000 cubic yards of earth;
· 5500 feet underdrain (slope and standard);
· Implemented an extensive reforestation plan; and
· Seeded 20,000 square yards of slope for conservation purposes.