Friday, February 15, 2008

By Ed Stannard
Register Metro Editor
— A new Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge is still a ways off, but work should start this summer on its first stages.
The state Department of Transportation opened bids Wednesday for the northbound approach to the span, also known as the Quinnipiac River (or Q) bridge, and its foundations, according to DOT spokesman Judd B. Everhart. The contract will be awarded in April, with work expected to start by late spring, Everhart said Thursday.
The four bidders were:
‰Walsh Construction Co., Sharon, Mass., $110.53 million
‰A joint venture of Cianbro and Middlesex III of Pittsfield, Maine, $137.49 million
‰A joint venture of Jay Cashman Inc. and Kiewet Construction Co. of Quincy, Mass., $143.99 million
‰Manafort Brothers Inc., Plainville, $157.75 million
“The lowest bid was roughly in the range that we anticipated, but we haven’t made a final decision on who will get it,” Everhart said. Barring anything unexpected in the bids, Walsh Construction certainly appears to be the winner, he said.
The northbound approach connects with Route 34 eastbound, Interstate 91 southbound, Wooster Street and I-95. The project includes reconstruction of Hamilton, East and Water streets on the west shore of the Quinnipiac River, and Forbes Avenue and Waterfront Street on the east shore.
This job was broken out of the Q bridge replacement project after no bids were received to rebuild the bridge. Everhart said the DOT expects to seek bids again on the bridge this fall, with construction starting next year.
Before that, though, another part of the New Haven Harbor crossing project will get under way, he said. That is a “flyover” that will bring northbound travelers on Interstate 95 to Route 34, exiting on the right of I-95 and soaring over the highway.
“We expect to advertise for bids for that piece later this month and, assuming everything goes well, we can begin construction on that part of the project this summer,” Everhart said.
The flyover is part of the project that ultimately will rebuild the interchange of I-95, I-91 and Route 34. Exit 46 will be relocated 1,500 feet west to accommodate the changes.
Meanwhile, another construction project will begin soon that won’t be so visible. Two 42-inch sewer force mains for the Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority will be installed under the Quinnipiac River, just north of the existing bridge. The old pipes are in the way of the new bridge, which will be on the harbor side.
Other local projects the DOT expects to start this year are: rebuilding the Howard Avenue bridge over I-95; reconstruction of Waterfront Street and the Providence & Worchester railroad tracks in the port area; and paving and other work on I-95 between Lake Saltonstall and Exit 54 in Branford.
The widening of I-95 between the Q bridge and East Haven has largely shut down for the winter, but the northbound lanes are scheduled to open in May, according to the DOT.
Ed Stannard can be reached at or 789-5743.

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