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Town in Connecticut Builds Bridge Out of a ‘Backpack’

Traditional bridge construction can be a costly and lengthy process, greatly affecting local traffic. In Weston, Conn., the Department of Transportation used first-of-its-kind “bridge-in-a-backpack” technology to replace a major bridge in just 16 weeks, rather than two years.

The bridge over the Saugatuck River, originally constructed in 1933, experienced about 9,100 crossings each day and was classified as “structurally deficient.” Through the use of “bridge-in-a-backpack” capabilities, the project utilized prefabricated, fiber reinforced polymer tubes with concrete instead of steel beams or heavy construction equipment. Precast concrete block retaining walls were used at all four corners of the structure to help speed construction. At the same time as bridge construction, Route 57 was widened and a shoulder/bike lane was added in each direction.

This technique, which dramatically sped up the time period of bridge replacement, saved the state money and greatly reduced the time traffic was affected.

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