CT's Historic Highway Bridges

Historic Highway Bridges

This website is a guide to the most outstanding of Connecticut's historic bridges. More than forty individual bridges are illustrated and described in detail, and there is a section on the bridges of the Merritt Parkway, Connecticut's largest highway project of the 1930s. Other parts of the website present a capsule history of bridge building in Connecticut and a series of case studies showing how landmark bridges can be saved through rehabilitation, relocation, and other preservation strategies.

This web presentation is based upon the book Connecticut's Historic Highway Bridges written by Bruce Clouette and Matthew Roth. The information on these bridges comes from the Connecticut Historic Bridge Inventory, a project undertaken by the Connecticut Department of Transportation in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and the Connecticut Historical Commission. The Historic Bridge Inventory had as its first goal the identification and assessment of all Connecticut highway bridges, both state and town-owned, that have historic significance. With a few exceptions, the Inventory was limited to bridges at least 20' in length and built before 1940. Railroad bridges were not included, except for bridges that carry highways over railroads and railroads over highways. Using the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places, a total of 124 bridges were judged to have historical significance. At the time of the inventory, ten highway bridges were already listed on the National Register.

The second goal of the project was to create a Preservation Plan for the state's historic bridges. As a section of this website demonstrates, with proper planning many bridges built more than a century ago can continue to provide safe and practical solutions to today's transportation needs. Other historic bridges can be preserved by moving them to new locations, such as hiking trails, that are less demanding than highways. Still others can be left in place for pedestrian use or as scenic resources while modern bridges carry a bypass route. Yet despite everyone's best efforts, it may not be practical to save all of the state's historic bridges. An archival record will be made of any historic bridge which is demolished as part of the State's bridge improvement program. Full details of the Preservation Plan and other aspects of the Historic Bridge Inventory are contained in a two-volume technical report available from the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Take a virtual tour of Connecticut's historic highway bridges via the links in the sidebar to the left.

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| Notable Designers & Builders | Bridges on National Register |
| Preservation Case Studies | Bibliography & Glossary | Related Links |