Saturday, July 16, 2022

Bridges over Housatonic River near Stevenson Dam

(Satellite, the current bridge is on top of the Stevenson Dam.)

In 2009 the current bridge carried 10,300 vehicles per day. [RepublicanAmerican] In 2018 the figure was 9,200. [ctpost]

Before the Stevenson Dam was built, a suspension bridge crossed the river because the previous covered wood bridges kept being wiped out by floods and ice jams. It was located about a half-mile upstream of the dam
StoryMaps, this web page has additional photos of this bridge

When the dam was completed in 1919, it included a road on top because the 76' rise in river level caused by the dam would "drown" the suspension bridge. More than one source claims that this is the only concrete dam in the US that carries a public road. The Stevenson Dam notes document three TVA dams that carried state roads.
Laura Santos, Released into the Public Domain
Note the cars going across the top of the dam.

In the 1990s, CDOT had a plan for a new bridge about 250' above the dam. Many people opposed that plan at a public hearing because the sediment in the dam's reservoir, Lake Zoar, is polluted with PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) from a General Electric plant in Pittsfield, MA. That plant dumped chemicals into the Housatonic River between 1932 and 1977. CDOT listened to the people. In 2012, a study examined nine alternates for building the bridge downstream of the dam and chose two of them for further study. The problem is that the rocky gorge that made it a good location for a dam makes it a difficult location for a road. [archives, ctpost] Hardesty & Hanover has been hired to provide design services for the replacement. Construction is anticipated to start in the spring of 2024. [portal, H&H]


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