Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial BridgeEdit profile
The Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridge (also known as the Sikorsky Memorial Bridge, and the Housatonic River Bridge) carries the limited-access Connecticut Route 15 over the Housatonic River, between Stratford and Milford, Connecticut. The bridge was first referred to as the Sikorsky Bridge because Sikorsy Aircraft is headquartered just north of the bridge. The 2006 replacement span was dedicated as the Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridge. The bridge's completion marked the completion of the Merritt Parkway and the starting point for construction of the adjoining Wilbur Cross Parkway, September 2, 1940. This is the second bridge at the site; the original one was built in 1940. That bridge was notable for its two narrow lanes in each direction and open steel grid deck which saved money but was unpopular with drivers. A toll plaza was located at the eastern end of the bridge from its opening in 1940 until Connecticut abolished tolls in 1988. The toll booth is now preserved in Stratford at the Boothe Memorial Park and Museum. After years of environmental studies, the Connecticut Department of Transportation awarded an $87 million contract to Balfour Beatty Construction to build a replacement bridge in 2000. The southern half of the new bridge opened in 2003; the 1940 span was demolished in 2004. A major accident resulted in one death in February, 2004. While removing structural steel from the old bridge, the load unexpectedly shifted, causing a crane to overturn and fall into the partially-frozen Housatonic River, killing its operator. The remaining half of the replacement bridge was completed in 2006, two years behind schedule. The new bridge has a concrete deck, with blacktop, three lanes in each direction, full left and right shoulders, a sidewalk for pedestrians, wrought-iron railing, and aesthetic lighting. The bridge also includes a system of concrete fenders that protects the bridge piers from ship collisions, a feature that was absent from the 1940 span.