New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)
Chapel Street bridge to reopen, officials say
NEW HAVEN — The city obtained parts for the broken Chapel Street bridge over the Mill River, which was stuck in the open position, with hopes of repairing it quickly if additional problems didn’t turn up, City Engineer Giovanni Zinn said Monday.
And in a tweet later Monday, the Engineering Department said “we were able to source parts and install them today. The bridge has been moving normally now. The bridge will be reopening to traffic shortly this afternoon.”
Zinn had said earlier in the day about the parts that, “We need to install them to make sure there aren’t any other issues.”
The Engineering Department said in a tweet Sunday that a shaft coupling sheared on one of the two main driveshafts inside the main box girder, which is one of the most inaccessible parts of the bridge.
“We’re working on it now,” Zinn said Monday afternoon “We’re going to be able to put the coupling back together shortly.”
The city also has taken a number of steps to ensure that the Chapel Street bridge is safe, Zinn said. The bridge was site of the deaths of four young people who died when their car drove through barriers and crashed into the Mill River early in the morning of Nov. 19, 1988.
The current version of the bridge “was built in the early ’90s” and “we all remember the tragedy that happened back there when we were constructing it,” Zinn said.
“We currently have the crash gates down” as well as the regular traffic gates, with concrete Jersey barriers also installed, Zinn said earlier Monday.
While in the past, the city has had issues where ancient bridges were closed for months or even years, “We’re trying to focus a lot more on preventative maintenance” these days, Zinn said. “The purpose here is to get away from issues that are going to require lengthy periods” during which bridges are closed, he said.
The city announced Saturday that the Chapel Street bridge was stuck in the open position and likely to remain that way through the weekend and possibly into the week. The bridge carries traffic on Chapel Street over the Mill River between East Street and James Street.
Mayor Justin Elicker had said the city was taking steps to ensure services were not interrupted while the bridge was offline.
Fire Chief John Alston said the department did not expect the closing to affect response times to that area of the city.
“We’ve made the necessary adjustments to our deployment, including moving some assets to the other side of the river, in order to ensure response times are not negatively impacted,” he said.