CT's Historic Masonry Arches


(click on images for larger view)

Washington Bridge,
Bridge No. 327


Washington Bridge

Route 1 over Housatonic River
Milford - Stratford
Steel trunnion-bearing bascule
Length: 12 spans, 859' overall, 151' double-leaf bascule
Built in 1921
Connecticut State Highway Department, engineers
Bethlehem Steel Bridge, fabricator


Washington BridgeWhen it was finished in 1921, Washington Bridge was the most expensive project ever undertaken by the Connecticut State Highway Department, costing $1.5 million. It was one of a series of important structures planned in 1915 when the Department was given jurisdiction over trunk-line bridges. However, rationing of steel during World War I delayed completion until 1921. The bridge's five 100' Washington Bridgeopen-spandrel concrete arches testify to the high level of technical expertise achieved by the state bridge program within only a few years of its inception. As the largest bridge on the state's most heavily traveled road, Washington Bridge was considered a showcase of the state engineers' talents.

Washington BridgeThe bascule consists of two leaves of arched deck girders that reflect the profile of the adjacent concrete spans. It was designed by noted consulting engineer J. A. L. Waddell and utilized an undergrade counterweight and drive arrangement patented by Thomas Brown of New York. Brown's design is an example of the continued refinement of the bascule in the early years of the 20th century.

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