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New Bridge to Open on Jan. 18
The long-awaited new bridge over the Park River will open to vehicles and pedestrians at the close of business (late afternoon) on Friday, Jan. 18, just in time for the start of the spring semester.
The date was chosen, in part, so that the new bridge will be open when students move back to the residence halls on Sunday, Jan. 20, said Senior Project Manager Chris Dupuis.
Workers will be making ancillary improvements adjacent to the bridge throughout the month of February, Dupuis said. Landscaping and final paving will be completed in the spring.
The opening of the new bridge marks the completion of a complex project that began last June with the temporary diversion of the Park River and the removal of a 50-year-old dam. Since that time, the main campus road has been closed between The Hartt School and Lincoln Theater.
The old dam, which was at the end of its useful life, has now been replaced with an 80-foot clear span bridge. Removing the dam and allowing the river to flow freely beneath the new bridge will have a positive environmental impact, and also should make campus flooding less intense. While the area around the river will still be prone to occasional flooding during heavy rains, any water that spills over the riverbanks will be calm, Dupuis said. The force of the river will stay within the channel, eliminating the threat of rushing water and strong currents on campus roads and parking lots.