Final stages: Route 35 bridge project eyes finish line, traffic expected Saturday and next week

As promised, the Route 35 bridge project will reach its end this month. 

The final stages begin this weekend when the contractor, Bloomfield-based Baier Construction, performs site work from 6 to 10 a.m. Saturday, May 12.

Next up, Frontier Communications will be resetting their manhole cover in the southbound lane that will require alternating traffic Monday, May 14, according to Ryan Wodjenski of the state's Department of Transportation (DOT).

"The semifinal inspection of the project is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15, and the rest of the week there should only be minor impacts to traffic if any," Wodjenski said Friday, May 11.

As for Saturday, Wodjenski expects all "work should all be able to be performed with minimal impact to traffic."

All plans for traffic next week are based on good weather, Wodjenski said.

Three years in the making

The Route 35 bridge reconstruction began in the fall of 2015 and hit a major snag in the spring of 2016, when problems developed around a sewer line, which had to be relocated — halting work for a time, slowing progress, and pushing the project’s total cost up from $2.5 million to $3.2 million.

For much of last summer, the driving public’s patience was further tested by another state bridge repair project, this one on Route 7 in Branchville. That project was also delayed by an unanticipated problem — a scour hole hollowed out by the river flowing under bridge.

When the Branchville work got going it involved the total shutdown of Route 7 just north of Route 102  from late Friday night to early Monday morning on several weekends from late spring to early fall last yeyar. But the Route 7 bridge work ended up moving more quickly than the Route 35 job, with its temporary bridge and sewer line relocation.

Still, the new Route 35 bridge began carrying both northbound and southbound traffic in November 2017, without either direction having to use the temporary bridge — or stop and wait for the other direction to pass.