ConnDOT: Weston Bridge 157 - 0083

‘Bridge-in-a-Backpack’ Technique Saves Time, Reduces Costs and Minimizes Traffic Disturbance


DOT Project No. 0157-0083


(WESTON) - Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Commissioner James Redeker today announced the official opening of the new Route 57 Bridge over the west branch of the Saugatuck River in Weston. Commissioner Redeker highlighted CTDOT’s use of a new bridge replacement method to accelerate construction of the project and reduce the cost of replacing the bridge. CTDOT received a federal innovation grant for utilizing “Bridge-in-a-Backpack”, a technique that allows bridges to be built in weeks instead of months using fiber reinforced polymer tubes so there is no need for heavy construction equipment, steel beams or freight trucks.


“Reducing construction time results in cost savings, and this is one of the many quick-building design and construction methods that CTDOT have in our toolbox,” said Commissioner Redeker. “Our goal is to not only restore our infrastructure to a state of good repair, we are also striving to save taxpayer money and minimize disturbances to the traveling public by cutting down the time it typically takes to replace a bridge.”


The original bridge, built in 1933, had been classified as “structurally deficient” and has an average of 9,100 vehicles crossing per day. The bridge was successfully replaced in 16 weeks with a new arch structure consisting of prefabricated fiber reinforced polymer tubes with self-consolidating concrete, fiber reinforced polymer decking panels, which forms the arch, and are covered with subbase material, pavement and cast-in-place moment slabs with barrier curb. 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 “Bridge-in-a-Backpack” process was captured in a Time-Lapse Video of the Route 57 Replacement Project.