Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridge

The Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridge (also known as the Sikorsky Memorial Bridge, and the Housatonic River Bridge) carries the limited-access Meritt Parkway (Connecticut Route 15) over the Housatonic River, between Stratford and Milford, Connecticut.

Sikorsky Memorial Bridge
Sikorskybridge.jpg
Traveling eastbound (toward Milford) on the Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridge in June 2007.
Coordinates41°14′47″N 73°05′29″W / 41.24639°N 73.09139°W / 41.24639; -73.09139Coordinates: 41°14′47″N 73°05′29″W / 41.24639°N 73.09139°W / 41.24639; -73.09139
Carries6 lanes of the Meritt Parkway (Route 15)
CrossesHousatonic River
LocaleBetween Stratford and Milford, Connecticut
Official nameIgor Sikorsky Memorial Bridge
Maintained byConnecticut Department of Transportation[1]
Characteristics
Designsteel continuous stringer/multi-beam
Total length548.6 metres (1,800 ft)
Width16.2 metres (53 ft)
Clearance below25.9 metres (85 ft)
Opened1940 (original span) reconstructed 2000-2006
Statistics
Daily traffic79,700
Toll(Until 1988) $0.35

The first bridge, known as the Sikorsky Bridge on the site, was completed in 1940, marking the completion of the Merritt Parkway and the starting point for construction of the adjoining Wilbur Cross Parkway, September 2, 1940.[2] It featured two lanes in each direction and open steel grid deck that saved money in order to not exceed the budget [3] and was unpopular with drivers.[4] A toll plaza stood at the eastern end of the Sikorsky Bridge until Connecticut abolished tolls in 1988. The toll booth is now preserved in Stratford at the Boothe Memorial Park and Museum.

The Sikorsky Bridge is named after aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky, whose helicopter factory is located along the riverfront immediately north of the bridge.

After years of environmental studies, the Connecticut Department of Transportation awarded an $87 million contract to Balfour Beatty Construction to build the replacement bridge, the Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridge, in 2000.[5] The southern half of the Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridge opened in 2003; the Sikorsky Bridge was demolished in 2004. In February 2004, the load unexpectedly shifted on a crane that was removing structural steel from the old bridge. The crane overturned and fell into the partially frozen Housatonic River, killing its operator.

The remaining half of the Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridge was completed in 2006, two years behind schedule.[6][7][8] The new bridge has a concrete deck, with an asphalt surface, three lanes in each direction, full left and right shoulders, a sidewalk for pedestrians, wrought-iron railing, and aesthetic lighting. The bridge also includes a system of concrete fenders that protects the bridge piers from ship collisions, a feature that was absent from the 1940 span.

In 2006, the new bridge was formally dedicated as the Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridge.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Connecticut Department of Transportation
  2. ^ Charles R. Roth (2007). "The Merritt Parkway — The Queen of All Parkways". Trumbull, Connecticut Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2007-10-02.
  3. ^ Charles R. Roth. "The Merritt Parkway — The Queen of All Parkways". Trumbull, Connecticut Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2007-10-02.
  4. ^ Kurumi (2007). "The Merritt Parkway — Goodbye steel bridge".
  5. ^ Jill K. Dion (November 21, 2007). "New bridge wins praise". Milford Mirror. Retrieved 2007-12-22.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "What's New - Connecticut Division". Federal Highway Administration. August 11, 2006.
  7. ^ "Merritt Parkway — Historic Overview". Eastern Roads. 2006.
  8. ^ "Sikorsky Bridge Replacement Project". MetroPool. 2006. Archived from the original on 2004-04-29. Retrieved 2007-09-19.

External linksEdit