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Major Work to Replace Bridge Starts Soon on the Mixmaster in Waterbury
May 31st, 2019
The intersection of Freight Street and Riverside Street northbound will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday, June 7 to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 9 while workers install a steel bridge over Freight Street. During this time, Riverside Street will remain open, but there will be no access between Riverside Street and Freight Street. Vehicles traveling northbound on Riverside Street will be detoured onto Sunnyside Avenue. In case of inclement weather or delays, the closure will occur from June 14 to June 16 at the same times.
The landscape of Route 8 will change dramatically this month and next as construction wraps up on a temporary bypass that will carry northbound traffic around the stacked junction with Interstate 84 known as the Mixmaster.
“People will notice the change,” said state Department of Transportation Project Engineer Dave Ferraro. “There will be a significant difference in that if you drive Route 8 every day, you’re used to the interchange being a stacked bridge scenario that you normally drive through. Now, with this bypass, it branches off.”
The work is part of a $153 million rehabilitation of the network of ramps and bridges that comprise the highway interchange.
The first visible change will be in the form of a road closure. The intersection of Freight Street and Riverside Street northbound will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday, June 7 to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 9 while workers install a steel bridge over Freight Street.
The bridge is being preconstructed on an elevated section of the future Route 8 bypass, just south of a concrete abutment that rises above Freight Street. During the closure, workers will roll the bridge into place with the help of a crane to lift it onto temporary columns. Once the bridge is situated, the columns will be removed and it will sit on bearing pads.
“It’s a temporary steel bridge that, for lack of a better way to put it, is put together like an Erector Set,” Ferraro said.
The bridge will carry vehicles over Freight Street for two years while the bypass is in effect. The bypass, which is expected to open in August, will allow the DOT to keep Route 8 northbound open while the deck is replaced.
The bypass will cross over the Naugatuck River near Exit 30 and will run along an elevated bituminous concrete roadway parallel to Jackson Street, before crossing the river again and following the former northbound side of Riverside Street. It then will carry traffic over Freight Street and back onto the current pathway of Route 8.
After the deck replacement is finished, traffic will be rerouted onto the existing Route 8 northbound, and the bypass will be demolished.
Of the three temporary bridges on the bypass, two will have steel decks, which take about one-third of the time to construct as concrete. The steel deck will be paved with asphalt, so drivers won’t notice a difference. But a steel deck doesn’t last as long as a concrete one, Ferraro explained, so the DOT uses concrete for permanent bridges.
The other bridge, which will carry traffic from the east side of the river to the west and onto Riverside Street, will be a traditional bridge made of concrete. Steel couldn’t be used because of the bridge’s curvature, Ferraro said.
The DOT plans to use chevrons, which are flashing LED lights, along with line striping and rumble strips, to alert drivers of the change in Route 8 northbound’s configuration when the bypass goes into effect.
The DOT’s contractor for the project is Massachussetts-based Walsh Construction. The project involves repairs and upgrades to the Mixmaster, but ultimately the configuration will not change. Rehabilitating the interchange is expected to extend its life another 25 years until it can be replaced.