Major Milestone Celebrated on Large-Scale Bridge Project in Connecticut

May 26, 2021

The CHA team joined the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and elected officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 25, to celebrate the opening of the new I-91 NB Exit 29 as part of the I-91 Charter Oak Bridge Project.

“This milestone was a huge success and is a testament to the hard work and dedication that not only our team, but the entire project team has made over the past two years,” said Ryan Cooley, PE, CHA’s New England Bridge Team Leader.

Construction of this project began in April 2019 to address safety concerns associated with congestion and operational failures in Hartford and East Hartford at Exit 29 on I-91 northbound, connecting to Routes 5/15 North, Route 2, and I-84 Eastbound. The I-91 NB Exit 29 was redesigned to be a major diverge, with two dedicated lanes for the left exit ramp to Route 5/15 NB. The new ramp will have added capacity and improved grades so that trucks can maneuver more easily. These changes will improve traffic flow and reduce recurring congestion.

CHA was selected to deliver the final design to address safety issues associated with congestion and operational performance of Interchange 29, where I-91 northbound exits to the Charter Oak Bridge. We designed the widening of I-91 northbound to increase the number of lanes and reconfigured the spans of the Charter Oak Bridge. The widening plan requires significant modifications to seven corridor bridges, construction of reinforced slopes, retaining walls, and a new two-lane, 880-foot, five-span bridge to support the new off-ramp. The new exit ramp bridge is a continuous trapezoidal box girder bridge supported on hammerhead piers and a straddle bent pier spanning Route 5/15 SB.

Our team also designed significant strengthening measures necessary for the existing Charter Oak Bridge based on our load rating analysis using full finite element modeling of the entire bridge and a strain gauge investigation to verify actual live load stresses. The existing bridge was also widened by approximately 40 feet with curved, splayed girders spanning more than 270 feet.

The anticipated completion date for this project is May 26, 2022. To learn more, visit the project’s website https://www.i-91charteroakbridge.com/.