SUFFIELD, Conn. — Bridges are an integral part of America’s infrastructure. Day in and day out, they are used as a constant resource for critical commutes and to connect communities. Without bridges, the world would not be as interconnected as it is today.
Many northern Connecticut residents have become impatient with the ongoing construction on the Enfield-Suffield Veteran's Bridge. They said it has caused them to put off an errand, or to go out of their way to avoid the bridge altogether.
As citizens, we understood that sentiment, and were drawn to visit the heart of the construction itself in order to see if we could get some answers on this inconvenience. We went to the CT Transportation Bridge Center’s Bridge Department, and asked to interview them on their timeline. We intended to get their side of the story, and in doing so, found out several interesting details, thanks to the eye-opening interviews from Paul Diorio, Project Engineer, Lukasz Obrebski, Chief Inspector, and Juan Cassaretto, Inspector.
The construction took 432 days in total, and ending November 2021. It covered general maintenance, such as active construction of the topside roadway, as well as the superstructure framing on the underside of the bridge. Painting and steel repair work was done as well, along with repaving and strengthening work. Overall, there were many separate projects, all overseen by ROTHA Contracting Company, Inc. 's Jack Thavenius, the acting project manager.
With the overall construction itself originally costing over $6 million, the team made a day-by-day plan in order to start the construction on May 24, 2020, and to have it successfully completed by November 27, 2021 within budget, which they were able to do after much hard work and overcoming of obstacles, such as the age of the bridge, COVID-19, or a season taken off for a falcon’s nest protected by the state.
Although it might have taken a long while in order to properly get the bridge work done, it is now much safer and generally improved than it has ever been, thanks to the work of the Department and ROTHA. Reforms like these will develop bridges all around the world to the next level, where commuters will be able to cross rivers safely, comfortably, and efficiently. This is just the beginning, and all we need to do is cross the bridge of construction to get to the other side.
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