New Fairfield officials are trying to address concerns raised by residents about the upcoming Saw Mill Road closure for a bridge replacement project. In 2013, the bridge was identified by state and federal transportation officials as “functionally obsolete” and Connecticut required full replacement.
Part of the reason why the road requires such a long closure is because the utility lines that run above the bridge as well as underground lines must be temporarily relocated and protected during construction. The Fire Department’s dry hydrant located adjacent to the bridge must also be removed during construction and reassembled afterward.
First Selectman Pat DelMonaco says it's a complex project with both historical and environmental implications. The bridge is 90-years old. The State and Federal governments have agreed to fund 80% of the cost of replacing the bridge, with the Town funding the remaining 20%.
The bridge and the approaches are too narrow for the current high volume of traffic, resulting in a high number of car accidents. The bridge also has a very shallow foundation which is insufficient for the velocity of Ball Pond Brook, which has undermined the bridge footings. The bridge has been under observation since 2005.
The current bridge is an intermediate size steel arch bridge with stone faced concrete abutments and wing walls which must be dismantled. Water flow will be diverted while the new bridge is under construction. This preparatory work will take approximately 1 month. Construction of 4 abutments will take approximately 3 months. Utility work and road reconstruction will take approximately 2.5 months. The remaining work will include constructing the approaches to the bridge, paving and landscaping which will take approximately 2 weeks.