Project Spotlight: Bridgeport, CT
Pleasure Beach Bridge Demolition
May 25, 2023
Built in 1927, the Pleasure Beach Bridge connected the City of Bridgeport to the once active amusement park and residential community on Pleasure Beach Island.
The bridge and landing piers are located between a federal channel which provides access to active marinas and commercial energy facilities within Bridgeport Harbor.
In June 1996 the wooden swing bridge was engulfed by flames and has since sat dormant and steadily rotting. In addition to the out-of-service bridge deteriorating, it has been struck numerous times by oil barges, both damaging the vessels and causing bridge debris to fall into the federal channel.
As funding becomes available, the City of Bridgeport has been cleaning up derelict structures and its waterfront in general. Prior to demolition of the bridge and landing structures, RACE facilitated considerable coordination amongst numerous federal, state and local agencies. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the US Coast Guard (USCG) permitted the demolition with terms and restrictions. The project also is responsible for complying with City of Bridgeport ordinances.
The landing pier on Pleasure Beach Island had been identified as a potential nesting habitat for protected Least Terns and Piping Plover. The demolition work occurred outside of the seasonally restricted times, the habitat areas were fenced off, and professional biologists monitor the site, all in accordance with the Threatened and Endangered Species Management Plan for Pleasure Beach Park.
Terry Marine Contracting, who specializes in building and repairing waterfront infrastructure, removed the bridge using barge-based cranes and equipment. Specialized crews cut and demolished the bridge structure with both power equipment and hand tools, such as demolition shears, grapples, saws, drills, and hammers. Timber pilings that supported the bridge and landing piers are being extracted using a vibratory pile driving hammer mounted on the barge-based crane.
Terry minimized impacts to coastal resources by installing and maintaining construction fences, polythene sheets, turbidity curtains, silt fences, and hay bales. These measures assisted in separating the work area from wildlife habitat, natural resources, and the debris/sediment impacts.
The project is scheduled for completion later this summer.