HARTFORD — A project to replace the I-91 bridges over US Route 5 in White River Junction is underway, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) announced April 3. Thanks to the deployment of an innovative slide-in construction technique, the highway will remain open during construction except for two weekends, likely in late August depending on construction progress. On those two weekends, the road will be closed in one direction and traffic detoured while an existing bridge is rapidly demolished and a new structure is moved into place.
“Deploying this innovative construction technique is another example of our commitment to maintaining mobility while being good stewards of our interstate highway system,” said Deputy Transportation Chris Cole. “The I-91 corridor is a critical gateway to Vermont, but the system is more than 50 years old and the work needs to be done. These bridges are very close to the junction with I-89 so limiting the time they will be closed is essential. Fortunately, the topography is ideal for this method.”
The cost of the project is $11.1 million with 95 percent will be paid by the Federal Highway Administration and the State of Vermont will pay 5 percent. Typically the State of Vermont’s share would be 10 percent but it is less because innovative construction and management methods will be utilized.
The slide will take place over two consecutive summer weekends, one bridge on each weekend. The tentative schedule for installing the new bridges is the weekends ofAugust 21 and August 29. Alternative dates to complete the bridge slide are the weekends of September 11 and September 18.
PCL Civil Constructors, Inc., which VTrans hired to construct the project, has installed a “Smart Work Zone” to inform travelers about construction activities. Cameras, sensors and message boards that will alert motorists and, when necessary, offer alternative driving routes have been set up at 25 different locations on I-89 and I-91.
Up to date information on the Hartford Bridges project will be provided throughout construction on the project website, www.i91wrj.vtransprojects.vermont.gov.