NAUGATUCK — After more than two years, work on the Route 68 bridge is wrapping up.
James Zaharevich, a project engineer with the state Department of Transportation, said in an email last week that nearly all of the work is complete. The only work left is to replace the bridge joint installation at both ends of the bridge, he said.
The work, which is scheduled to be finished this week, includes installing a flexible silicone joint system from curb to curb to prevent water from leaking into the abutments and bearings at each end of the bridge, Zaharevich said.
Work started on the bridge, which connects Bridge Street to Prospect Street, in April 2016. The $12.8 million project consisted of bridge rehabilitation, including replacement of the concrete bridge beams with high-strength weathering steel and the existing concrete deck, along with reconstruction of the bridge seat at both abutments, reconstruction of wing walls and repairs to the five piers.
Zaharevich said the work on the bridge was a complete “superstructure replacement,” meaning the steel beams, concrete deck and parapet are all new while the piers and abutments were rehabbed in place. He said the life expectancy of the bridge now is estimated at least 50 to 75 years, he said.
The project impacted traffic due to lane and bridge closures. Work on the Route 68 bridge ran parallel to the Whittemore Bridge reconstruction project, which left the Whittemore Bridge as only one way for much of the duration of the project. The two projects caused traffic issues at times over the past couple of years.
Reconstruction of the Whittemore Bridge, which spans the Naugatuck River along Maple Street, is complete. The borough officially opened it with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 29 during the Downtown Fall Festival.
Although the work on the Route 68 bridge is set to wrap up, Zaharevich said it doesn’t mean residents won’t see any work being done in that area.
A separate project to replace the traffic signal at the intersection of Prospect Street and Golden Hill Court is slated to take place this autumn, Zaharevich said. There will be minimal impact to traffic during the project, he said.