Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge

The Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge​ is a powerful reminder for Connecticut residents of the “date which will live in infamy”—the attack on Pearl Harbor. The bridge commemorates Pearl Harbor veterans and the 17 Connecticut residents who died in the attack on December 7, 1941.
Extradosed bridge design is relatively new, and the
first bridge of this type was built in Japan. The
design combines elements of a cable-stayed bridge
(where cables support the roadway anchored in the
tower) and a box-girder bridge (where the bridge
structure is in the shape of a hollow box).

The Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge features 10
lanes crossing the Quinnipiac River.

The battleship-inspired bridge is the first extradosed, prestressed concrete bridge built in the United States and stands as the centerpiece of the highway improvement project that replaced a structure that returned World War II veterans built in the late 1950s.

One of the unique features of an extradosed bridge is that the towers are lower than those found on a traditional cable-stayed bridge, which means it’s easier and more cost-efficient to replace or maintain stay cables. Plus, a lower height means they won’t interfere with air traffic from the nearby airport.

The new cast-in-place, segmental concrete, box-girder bridge (built in sections) features 10 lanes crossing the Quinnipiac River in New Haven.


PCL constructed the bridge in two main stages and one transitional stage. The project team recognized early on that the schedule was compressed for the third stage, and that to stay on schedule, they had to do some creative rethinking. The original contract detailed the demolition of the existing northbound bridge during stage two, the transitional stage, while traffic was still on the existing southbound bridge. The plan needed a revision because it was possible to reach the northbound bridge only over live traffic, which meant multiple lane closures that would impact the traveling public, ultimately resulting in additional cost and schedule delays.

The project team developed a concept that introduced the “chicane” method, an artificial feature that creates extra turns in a road to slow traffic safely. The use of this feature shifted the existing southbound lanes to the (old) northbound lanes on the existing bridge. The shift allowed demolition to begin early on the southbound structure first, where crane access was unencumbered.


Another key challenge in the overall construction was coordinating the schedule for the two construction teams that needed to complete work on anchor pier one, the final piece of the bridge. This bridge support is the shared transition point of PCL’s segmental bridge to the structural steel approach built adjacent by another contractor.

The concern was that the original contract didn’t have an interim date for completion of anchor pier one, only a final date for the entire bridge structure. Without an early turnover on the bridge, the structural steel contractor would have a significant wait time before they could “land” their steel girders on the shared support and complete the project.

The PCL team developed a plan to begin construction of anchor pier one early, adjusting the schedule and resources. This solution led to an early turnover of anchor pier one, which enabled the structural steel contractor to speed up their schedule for the final phase and turn over the project to the traveling public. It was a win for all parties involved.

Completed on July 20, 2015, the bridge opened to traffic after Labor Day, keeping the Pearl Harbor memory alive in Connecticut.


“The Walsh/PCL Joint Venture Team continually worked to solve problems and keep the project on schedule. The staff was always professional, knowledgeable, and showed a strong desire to work as a team. It was truly a pleasure working on this project."

— John Dunham, PE, assistant district engineer, ConnDOT

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