I-84 widening project could begin before the end of this year

Work on the I-84 widening project in Waterbury is expected to begin before the end of this year, with full construction beginning in the spring of 2015.

The state Department of Transportation has reviewed the submitted bids and the apparent low bidder is Constructors Joint Venture with a bid for the contract at $260.55 million.

With ancillary project costs such as contingencies and utility work, the project is now expected to cost about $325 million, compared with earlier estimates of $365 million to $400 million.

The project involves the full reconstruction of a 2.7-mile section of I-84 from the Hamilton Avenue (Route 69) overpass to the Austin Road interchange (Exit 25A) in Waterbury. It is Phase Three of a three-phase project to widen the highway in one of Connecticut’s most difficult traffic bottlenecks and should be completed in 2019.

Connecticut’s share of the project cost — previously approved by the State Bond Commission — will be $145 million. The remaining $180 million will come through the Federal Highway Administration. It is estimated that the project will create or sustain 3,000 construction jobs and another 3,700 ancillary jobs.

“This segment of I-84, constructed in the 1960s, was designed to handle approximately 34,000 vehicles per day but currently handles more than 105,000 vehicles daily,” said DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker.

Project details

The reconstructed I-84 will have a 12-foot wide right shoulder, three 12-foot wide travel lanes and a 12-foot wide left shoulder in each direction of travel, separated by a 10 foot wide concrete barrier section. Additionally, a 12-foot auxiliary lane will be provided on I-84 westbound between the on-ramp from Harpers Ferry Road and the off-ramp to Hamilton Avenue.

The proposed reconstruction includes realigning approximately one mile of I-84 in the vicinity of Harpers Ferry Road to eliminate the sharp reverse-curve alignment. Approximately 2,000 feet of Reidville Drive will be relocated to accommodate this realignment. On the north side of I-84, a new frontage road, referred to as Plank Road East, will be constructed parallel to I-84 between Scott Road and Harpers Ferry Road. Roadway improvements are proposed for Hamilton Avenue, Harpers Ferry Road, Scott Road, Reidville Drive, Plank Road, Plank Road East and East Main Street.

All existing traffic signals will be replaced with new equipment. Proposed structure work includes the construction of nine highway bridges, one pedestrian bridge, 20 retaining walls and six box culverts. The existing pedestrian underpass providing access to Hamilton Park from Hamilton Avenue on the south side of I-84 will be eliminated.

Pedestrian access will be maintained along the east bank of the Mad River under the new bridge carrying I-84 over the river. Additionally, the existing pedestrian bridge over the Mad River will be replaced by a new pedestrian bridge, located approximately 95 feet upstream.