The metal skeleton forming a temporary bridge for I-95 South was completed last night. Construction workers are on schedule to lay steel decks and pavement throughout tonight and could reopen the Southbound lanes as early as tomorrow, Chris Cooper, Connecticut DOT official, told Fleet Owner.
The Connecticut DOT says that all commercial vehicles will be able to resume their normal operations once the Southbound lanes reopen.
“The temporary bridge will be able to handle all commercial traffic. There will be no particular weight and load restrictions,” Cooper said.
The Northbound lanes have been open since Sunday but increased patrols ensure traffic stays at 45 mph near the construction area between Exits 24 and 25. Connecticut Governor John Rowland has assured motorists that the steel beams used to reinforce the bridge make the Northbound lanes safe.
The swift progress the construction crews are making is a result of favorable weather conditions coupled with solid government support. The federal government has allocated over $13 million to the construction efforts, as well as increased patrols and municipal support, The Connecticut Post reported.
“Everything went better than we could hope for— it had been a 24/7 operation since the accident that destroyed the overpass. We’ve had very good cooperation with the mayor and the congressional delegation,” Cooper told Fleet Owner.
But even after I-95 completely reopens there will be plenty of construction ahead as the bridge is a temporary solution. It will take a 12- to 18-month project to rebuild the destroyed overpass. Until then Cooper urges all motorists to avoid the I-95 area if possible and to drive safely, pointing out that the tanker and car collision that resulted in the destruction of the overpass most likely started with reckless driving.
“Although we don’t know the precise details of the crash yet, the lion’s share of these types of accidents is caused by excessive speed. And now we’re paying for $3-million worth of damages,” Cooper said.
The Connecticut DOT has launched a website that provides updated rerouting information and oversized/overweight vehicle restrictions. To visit the site go to http://www.ct.gov/dot/site/default.asp, or call toll-free 1-877-284-9995.