By James Lomuscio
Just a small crowd of 15 persons turned out tonight at a Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) public information session on plans to replace the Beachside Avenue bridge over 1-95.
Replacement of the Beachside Avenue Bridge will begin in two years and cause its closure for six to nine months. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
The estimated $8.1 million project would involve replacing a two-span bridge totaling 203 feet, according to the CDOT.
Commencing in the spring of 2020, the project would take between six to nine months and would require the closing of Beachside Avenue at the intersection of Greens Farms Road for that period, CDOT engineers said.
Traffic would be rerouted through the neighborhood, adding travel time to the Greens Farms Academy, as well as to public school buses serving the area.
First Selectman Jim Marpe said the bridge work would have the greatest impact on residents of Beachside Common.
Please work closely with them,” said Marpe, a resident of the Greens Farms neighborhood.
The project will also require the relocation of utility lines that traverse the bridge, with the utility work expected to begin sometime in January. Marpe suggested that the CDOT look at putting those utilities underground “to improve an area that is already beautiful.”
According to Theodore Nezames, CDOT’s manager of bridges, Bridge 00069 built in 1958 has fallen into disrepair and is 10 years overdue for replacement.
“They were designed for 50 years,” he said.
State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg and state Sen. Toni Boucher were in attendance.
“Thank you for bringing it to the community as early as possible,” Steinberg told DOT officials.
He added that while Bridge 00069 “is not the Cribari Bridge, not historic,” it remains important to the local community.
“Everything reaches the end of its life,” Steinberg said, “even concrete and steel.”
According to Ken-Taro Plude, CDOT engineer, the bridge’s concrete deck is currently in a deteriorated condition, with the concrete deck showing hollowness, transverse cracks, stalactites and spots showing that water has permeated the deck.
Plude said that the bridge’s three lanes, one being a right turn on to Greens Farms Road, would be realigned and the turn lane eliminated. He also said the bridge’s height from the I-95 roadway would be raised from 15-foot-1, to 16-foot-3.
According to Nezames, replacing the entire bridge would be more cost effective than repairing the existing one. He said the new bridge would be designed “to last 75 to 100 years.”
Since the bridge’s replacement is still in the design phase, Mary Baker, CDOT principal engineer, said that future public information sessions would be held at Town Hall to get public input.