The new Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven, Connecticut is bringing considerable traffic relief to the 140,000 vehicles that travel across the bridge on Interstate 95 every day.
The 10-lane bridge, known locally as the Q-Bridge, crosses the Quinnipiac River and replaces the original six-lane Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, which was built in 1958 and designed to accommodate 40,000 vehicles daily.
A grand-opening celebration and dedication ceremony on Sept. 19 marked a major milestone for the I-95 New Haven Harbor Crossing Corridor Improvement Program. Nearly 10,000 people attended and walked over the new southbound portion of the bridge, which officially opened to traffic on Sept. 28.
The northbound portion of the bridge opened for traffic ahead of schedule in 2012. Since then, it has been providing some relief to traffic, giving motorists a good idea of the improvements in store upon full completion of the bridge.
Since 1999, WSP USA has served as the program manager for the I-95 New Haven Harbor Crossing Corridor Improvement Program on behalf of the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT).
“We are honored to be ConnDOT’s partner in the management of this project, which dramatically improves traffic flow in the critical I-95 corridor,” said Anthony A. Moretti, WSP’s Connecticut area manager. “With our strong local presence, overall depth of resources and specialized technical capabilities, we are able to leverage our full ‘tool box’ as an extension of the ConnDOT staff.”
The Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge is the first bridge in the U.S. with an extradosed design—a hybrid of a cable-stayed and box girder structure—which allows the structure to accommodate longer spans than a girder bridge while using shorter towers than a conventional cable-stayed bridge.
Joseph D’Agostino, WSP’s project manager, said the shorter towers were needed in order to meet air traffic restrictions for the nearby Tweed New Haven Airport. A longer span was also needed in order to accommodate the Quinnipiac River navigational channel and reduce overall environmental impacts.
“This signature design was selected to remember and pay tribute to the military veterans and the events of Dec. 7, 1941,” D’Agostino said. “It is a distinctive landmark in the New Haven skyline meant to recall the smokestacks of a battleship, and to recognize Connecticut as the ‘gateway to New England.’”
The new I-95/I-91/Route 34 interchange at the southern approach to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge includes three lanes in each direction. The expanded interchange can accept 10 lanes of traffic from the new bridge.
The interchange project includes the construction of more than 20 highway bridges and 20 retaining walls. The bridge was completed on-time and on-budget, and the expanded interchange is scheduled to be completed in the fall 2016.
In addition to the new bridge and interchange, the I-95 New Haven Harbor Crossing Corridor Improvement Program includes improvements to 7.2 miles of I-95, and transit enhancements including upgrades to four Shore Line East commuter train stations and the new State Street commuter rail station in downtown New Haven, which was completed in 2002.
“The program benefits the region by improving mobility and safety for the travelling public, as well as directly and indirectly improving economic development and job growth,” Moretti said. “We look forward to continuing to support ConnDOT through completion of the program.”
The entire I-95 program, the largest and most comprehensive multimodal transportation program in Connecticut’s history, is scheduled for completion in fall of 2016.