EAST HADDAM — The East Haddam Swing Bridge is scheduled for nightly complete closures Jan. 4 – 20 as the construction phase of a $78 million rehabilitation project on the 110-year-old bridge begins.
The bridge could be open on Saturday and Sunday nights during that time span, but those two days will act as a safeguard for the contractor, American Bridge Company, if delays occur, said Josh Morgan, spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
“The hope is not to have to do the work Saturday and Sunday nights but the contractor has that time built in because if there’s a snowstorm, if there’s a heavy rainstorm, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, that can push the timeframe back which is why they have the weekends built in there,” Morgan said.
Morgan encouraged residents and travelers to sign up for alerts concerning closures of the bridge. He said weekend status alerts are sent out on Thursday afternoons.
The bridge carries Route 82 over the Connecticut River. During the night closures, traffic will be detoured 30 miles to either the Baldwin Bridge in Old Saybrook or the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown and Portland.
Morgan said the work in January will include drilling for a retaining wall that will secure the cantilevered pedestrian bridge on the east side of the river. The southern-facing pedestrian bridge will connect to approach sidewalks in Haddam and East Haddam.
The two-year project includes replacement of the steel bridge deck and its supporting structures as well as a failing electrical system that often caused the bridge to jam in the open position.
The Connecticut DOT has estimated there will be 25 full bridge closures – from Sundays at 8 p.m. to Wednesdays at 11 a.m. – during the two years of construction. The project also includes approximately 23 weeks of one-way, 24/7 alternating traffic on the bridge.
The passage through the bridge will be closed to boat traffic of vessels taller than 25 feet from December through March in both 2023 and 2024.
American Bridge Company, which won the $55 million contract for the bridge rehabilitation, built the bridge in 1913. Design permits and other costs, plus the cost of the sidewalk, brought the project to $78 million.
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Editor’s corrections: American Bridge Company built the bridge in 1913, not 2013 as previously written. Also, the $78 million total project cost includes design permitting and other costs, which were omitted from the previous version of the story, and the cost of the sidewalk.