Grand Opening of New Bridge in Weston First of its kind “Bridge in a Backpack”

October 30, 2015

Hartford, CT – State Senator Toni Boucher joined Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner, James Redeker at the ribbon cutting for a first of its kind construction technique called “bridge-in-a-Backpack” on Route 57 in Weston. The State DOT received a federal innovation grant for utilizing “Bridge-in-a-Backpack”, a technique that allows bridges to be built in weeks instead of months

New Bridge in Weston on Route 57 now open to traffic after the state DOT utilized a new construction technique.
New Bridge in Weston on Route 57 now open to traffic after the state DOT utilized a new construction technique.

“This type of transportation upgrade is essential to the community. Route 57 is heavily travelled and having a safe viable route is critical,” said Sen. Toni Boucher. “The use of such advanced techniques is exciting and really opens the door to infinite possibilities moving forward.’

The bridge spans the West Branch of Saugatuck River. At 1:30 the bridge was officially opened to traffic. The construction took about 16 weeks to complete rather than two years. The bridge is wider and more structurally sound.

“A few years ago, ‘Bridge-in-a-Backpack’ techniques were brand new to the world, but now I’m proud to note that Weston is in the forefront of locals utilizing this fascinating technology to improve their safety and traffic concerns,” said State Rep. John Shaban (Easton, Redding Weston).

Commissioner Redeker highlighted CTDOT’s use of a new bridge replacement method to accelerate construction of the project and reduce the cost of replacing the bridge. Redeker said using fiber reinforced polymer tubes means no need for heavy construction equipment, steel beams or freight trucks.

“Reducing construction time results in cost savings, and this is one of the many quick-building design and construction methods that CTDOT have in our toolbox,” said Commissioner Redeker. “Our goal is to not only restore our infrastructure to a state of good repair, we are also striving to save taxpayer money and minimize disturbances to the traveling public by cutting down the time it typically takes to replace a bridge.”

The original bridge, built in 1933, had been classified as “structurally deficient” and has an average of 9,100 vehicles crossing per day. The bridge was successfully replaced in 16 weeks with a new arch structure consisting of prefabricated fiber reinforced polymer tubes with self-consolidating concrete, fiber reinforced polymer decking panels, which forms the arch, and are covered with subbase material, pavement and cast-in-place moment slabs with barrier curb. The composite shell provides a protective barrier that keeps out road salt, chemicals and moisture, which eventually penetrate and degrade conventional bridges.

Precast concrete block retaining walls were utilized at all four corners of the structure to help expedite construction. Additionally, the Route 57 roadway was widened to accommodate a 12-foot travel lane and 5-foot shoulder/bike lane in each direction.

The “Bridge-in-a-Backpack” process was captured in this CTDOT Time-Lapse Video of the Route 57 Replacement Project.