The new Route 57 bridge in Weston has opened. State Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redecker was in Weston for the official reopening of the Route 57 bridge over the Saugatuck River. He touted the accelerated construction method that reduced the cost of the project.
A federal innovation grant was awarded to the DOT for the so-called Bridge in a Backpack technique. It allows for bridges to be built in weeks instead of months by using fiber reinforced polymer tubes, instead of heavy construction equipment, steel beams or freight trucks.
The composite shell provides a protective barrier that keeps out road salt, chemicals and moisture, which eventually penetrate and degrade conventional bridges. Precast concrete block retaining walls were utilized at all four corners of the structure to help expedite construction. Additionally, the Route 57 roadway was widened to accommodate a 12-foot travel lane and 5-foot shoulder/bike lane in each direction.
The original bridge was built in 1933 and was classified as structurally deficient. On average, some 9,100 cars cross the bridge each day. Construction of the new bridge took 16 weeks.