Walk Bridge Off to a Running StartWritten by William C. Vantuono, Editor-In-Chief, Railway Age
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is starting construction on the Norwalk River Railroad (Walk) Bridge Replacement Project in Norwalk.
Originally built in 1896, the Walk Bridge is a four-track swing span across the Norwalk River on the Northeast Corridor. One of the oldest movable bridges in the region, in recent years it has shown its age, “failing to close on several occasions and significantly disrupting travel on Metro-North’s New Haven Line and Amtrak services,” CDOT noted. “Having outlived its useful life, federal and state officials determined the necessity to replace the bridge and designed a new one that is focused on enhancing the safety, reliability and ease of travel throughout Norwalk and beyond with vital improvements and upgrades to the railroad infrastructure. This bridge replacement project promotes economic development through infrastructure investment, the protection of potential up-river development, and reduced roadway congestion.”
The new bridge will be a redundant structure with two independent, movable lift spans that are designed and constructed “to be resilient and sustainable for extreme weather events,” CDOT said. When completed, a speed restriction over the bridge will be eliminated, allowing trains to travel at speeds 15 mph faster than currently.
The $925 million construction project is approximately 80% federally funded and 20% state funded. It is expected to be completed in 2029. In 2020, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) awarded a $144 million grant to CTDOT and Amtrak under the FY 2020 Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair program for this project.
HNTB is the Design Consultant and Designer of Record for the Walk Bridge Replacement Project, CDOT’s first program to be contracted under a “construction manager/general contractor delivery method,” HNTB noted. “It consists of more than a half-dozen infrastructure projects that increase safety, reliability and ease of travel throughout Norwalk. This program advances Norwalk’s railroad transportation infrastructure while improving local roads and sidewalks for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.”
HNTB’s design services include bridge, mechanical, electrical, track, high tower, catenary, geotechnical, signals and communication, civil, architectural, hydraulics and construction sequencing. HNTB also was responsible for preparing the environmental documentation and permit applications. The company also evaluated various demolition aspects, installing a structural health monitoring system that tracks tilt, strain and acceleration to better understand long-term trends and to build a baseline data set for comparison with behavior during demolition.
Cianbro-Middlesex Joint Venture (CMJV) is the Construction Manager and General Contractor. CMJV provided Construction Management services during the pre-construction (design and permitting) phase and, during the construction phase, will act as General Contractor for all construction activities.
WSP is the Program Management Consultant, acting as an extension of CTDOT’s staff and assisting in design consultant coordination, contractor management and overall program scope, schedule and budget development and management.