Rickety bridges will definitely put a damper on the daily commute. Of the two Fairfield, Connecticut, bridges (both built in 1929), one was structurally deficient, and the other was well on its way to being the same. The Mill Plain Road bridges are a main route through residential neighborhoods to the I-95 and a gateway to Riverside Park. As a cornerstone of travel in the community, these bridges had a lot of stakeholders in their replacement.
We sat down with Fairfield neighborhood groups and spoke in public information meetings. The verdict? One bridge—an aesthetically pleasing structure allowing for safer driving, walking, and cycling traffic. We designed an open-railing concept with parapets (covered in real stone veneers) with wider lanes and shoulders, and a sidewalk.
After the design, we balanced the parallel permitting requirements of local and state levels—including state Department of Transportation oversight for federal funding. As a major roadway for these neighborhoods, we wanted to get the bridge finished quickly. We recommended road closure and a detour. The new bridge was completed in a year and a half—and the commutes could continue.