Waterford bridge replacement slows traffic, but could be worse

WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Replacing a bridge on I-95 in Waterford has northbound traffic down to one lane. The bridge takes highway traffic over Oil Mill Road, and the closure has kept traffic bumper to bumper all day.

“I understand they have to do repairs,” said Groton resident Brett Warren, “but you would think they would find a better time to do it than the middle of summertime when all the people come from all the other states to visit the beaches and stuff like that.”

The process could be a lot worse and last a lot longer, however. Fortunately, the Connecticut DOT is using a process called A.B.C. That stands for Accelerated Bridge Construction. They already built the new bridges on site. What they are doing right now is demolishing the old bridge, one lane at a time, then they will put the new one in.

It’s the same process that they used to replace an I-84 bridge in Southington in June of 2014. The DOT made a time-lapse video of the new bridge sliding right into place. Replacing one lane of the Waterford bridge will take about 34 hours. That means it should be done Wednesday morning.

“You know, DOT did a pretty good job of notifying the people about it,” said John Kwasniewski of Old Saybrook. “So if you just plan your trip in advance you can bypass it, multiple routes.”

However, sometimes those routes take traffic, especially big trucks, down roads they don’t belong.

“They find their way around or they ask us how do they get out of here because they can’t make the turns and the road’s only wide enough for two cars,” explained Waterford resident Alison Sylvia.

The DOT recommends northbound drivers take I-395 up to exit 2 and back south to 95. That will avoid the worst of the traffic today, but regular commuters say long-term construction keeps putting them behind schedule.

“Old Saybrook usually takes me 15-20 minutes to get to , and it’s been taking me 45 minutes to an hour almost every day,” Warren said.

The bridge replacement is going one lane at a time, so today the left northbound lane is closed. Next Monday night, the DOT will close the right northbound lane and do the same thing.

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