I-84 In Southington Opened As Bridge Work Completed Early

Police lead the return of traffc on I-84 West in Southington at 8:20 p.m. Sunday, more than 8 1/2 hours ahead of schedule. (Courtesy CTDOT)

SOUTHINGTON — I-84 in Southington reopened Sunday night, hours ahead of schedule after a weekend bridge replacement project.

The highway was shut down at 9 p.m. Friday so that workers could begin demolishing the bridges that carried the highway over Marion Avenue. The new bridges had been constructed on site and were then moved into position over the weekend.

The Department of Transportation initially promised to have work completed by 5 a.m. Monday, but was able to reopen the eastbound lanes more than 12 hours ahead of schedule at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The westbound lanes also reopened ahead of schedule, at 8:21 p.m.

DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick said department staff worked to anticipate every possible problem and had backup plans in place.

"We are thrilled," Nursick said just before the highway fully reopened. "DOT staff are glowing right now. We're proud to be DOT employees right now."

"A lot was riding on this project getting done without any problems and with very little inconvenience to nearly 85,000-plus people that travel on this portion of I-84 every day," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Sunday afternoon. "This is another great example of ConnDOT thinking outside the box to deliver a major bridge project with as few interruptions as possible for the public."

Engineers planned the weekend work for months and, for weeks warned motorists about delays and alternate routes.

The old bridges were built in 1964 and were too rusted and deteriorated to repair. The replacement bridges were built over the past several months.

Nursick said the combined weight of the individual bridge decks, the supporting steel that held them and the self-propelled machines that lifted them into place was about 3 million pounds.

DOT cameras, positioned near Exit 30, broadcast the work over the Internet in real time.

The project's cost is $6 million, according to the DOT.

Had the project been undertaken conventionally, without prefabrication, motorists could have faced "months or years of traffic congestion," Nursick said.

An estimated 80,000 drivers travel through the area on the interstate daily, but the DOT said the decision was made to pick this weekend because volume is typically down in the summer.

New York's department of transportation shut down I-84 just west of the Connecticut line last fall to replace two bridges. The work was completed on different weekends.