DOT trying to improve ride quality on Gold Star Bridge

Traffic slows as it enters the Gold Star Memorial Bridge Sunday, November 26, 2017.  (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Traffic slows as it enters the Gold Star Memorial Bridge Sunday, November 26, 2017. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

The state Department of Transportation said it is investigating ways to improve the ride quality for cars traveling southbound on the Gold Star Memorial Bridge, following the installation of new expansion joints during upgrades to the bridge.

Several people have complained in letters to the editor in The Day that their cars are rattled as they drive across the new expansion joints on the bridge.

"We are aware of the roughness of the new joints," Keith Schoppe, project engineer for the Gold Star Bridge upgrades, said in response. "This is in part due to the type of joint, the width and the installation. The joints are recessed slightly, so that snow plows don’t damage the joints when they pass over them. However, we are looking at ways to improve the ride quality."

"Unfortunately, this can’t happen until the temporary concrete barriers are removed so that we can once again gain access to the left lanes," he added. "The joint installation method was revised slightly for the right lanes, so these should ride better than those installed previously."

DOT is working on an approximately $26 million ongoing rehabilitation project on the southbound bridge between New London and Groton that is intended to keep the bridge in good shape for the next 25 years. The project includes replacing the bridge's modular deck joints, fixing spots of deteriorating concrete and repaving the deck, applying a higher-tech waterproofing system and repairing and replacing steel as needed, according to DOT.

The work is proceeding in stages, and four travel lanes currently are open on the bridge. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of November.

k.drelich@theday.com

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