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U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FHWA 27-12
Friday, June 22, 2012
Contact: Doug Hecox
Tel: 202-366-0660

Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Nadeau Joins Governor Malloy to Open First Span of Connecticut's New Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau joined Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy today to open the northbound span of the new $714 million Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, the first major segment of a $2 billion I-95 corridor improvement project.

"Building this bridge is creating jobs for local workers, but once it's finished, its economic benefits will extend to improve commerce, safety and livability for hundreds of thousands along the East Coast," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Projects like the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge are exactly what President Obama means when he talks about an America built to last."

Drivers will use the new northbound span until the bridge's southbound span is completed in 2015. Once both spans are completed, the new bridge will offer drivers five lanes in each direction. The current bridge will remain open to traffic to help alleviate congestion until the second span is open to traffic, at which time it will be demolished. Construction of the new bridge began in December 2009.

The original bridge, which was constructed in the late 1950's, and the roads connected to it, are among the most heavily traveled segments of the corridor between New York and Boston. The route that includes the new bridge expects to serve 140,000 vehicles per day by 2015, more than three times the volume for which the original bridge was designed.

"We are making a long-term investment in New Haven and in the lives of its residents by putting people back to work and eliminating a chokepoint along one of the nation's most important economic corridors," said Deputy Administrator Nadeau.

Called the "Q" bridge because it spans the Quinnipiac River, the new bridge is the first "extradosed" cable-stayed bridge built in the United States. There are less than two dozen such bridges worldwide. Cable-stayed bridges have one or more columns or towers with cables supporting the bridge deck. An extradosed bridge is a cable-stayed bridge, but with a more substantial bridge deck that, being stiffer and stronger, requires fewer cable supports and avoids the height requirements of a traditional cable-stayed bridge that would interfere with the flight path of air traffic out of the nearby airport.

Lessons learned from this innovative design are being shared already with engineers from other states. The Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation are planning to use a similar extradosed design for the St. Croix River Bridge, and engineers from the two states visited Connecticut last month for a peer-to-peer exchange on this bridge design.

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