DANBURY, Conn. -- Drivers heading out on I-84 in the Danbury area on Saturday should consider themselves warned: The westbound side of the highway will be closed at Exit 1 in Danbury at 5 p.m. and will stay closed until Sunday afternoon.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation said residents should brace for miles-long traffic jams as all westbound traffic is diverted onto Route 6/202, or Saw Mill Road, so bridge work can be done in New York.
Lane closures and traffic control will begin at 3:30 p.m. Friday on I-84, Route 6/202, and some of the local roads in preparation for the full closure of I-84 westbound at 5 p.m. Saturday.
As Danbury braces for the traffic, an unscientific poll on The Daily Voice showed how people plan to cope with closure of the busy interstate highway:
- 33 percent plan to stay at home the whole time,
- 28 percent will stay off I-84 but aren't worried about the side roads,
- 22 percent aren't worried at all because there's always traffic,
- 11 percent of readers say they will deal with the highway closure by going out of town for the whole weekend, and
- 6 percent are busy looking for alternative routes.
In addition to traffic jams along I-84 -- which DOT warns could go back to Southbury -- streets throughout Danbury are expected to be filled with drivers seeking alternate routes.
Area residents and drivers are urged to seek alternative routes and allow for extra travel time.
The diverted traffic will re-enter I-84 at Exit 20 for I-684 in the town of Southeast in New York.
Travelers may choose to avoid I-84 altogether, going as far north as I-90 or as far south as I-95/I-287 or the Merritt Parkway.
The New York State Department of Transportation is closing the highway to allow work to replace the two Putnam County bridges that carry I-84 over Dingle Ridge Road in Southeast.
Also, New York officials have changed the date for I-84 eastbound's closure, which originally was scheduled and publicized as taking place the following weekend. The eastbound direction will be closed the weekend of Oct. 19 to 20 for the bridge work.
This project uses Accelerated Bridge Construction techniques to erect two bridges in two weekends -- one for each direction of I-84 as it passes over Dingle Ridge Road. Each new bridge has been built adjacent to the existing bridge on a rail system. On the weekend of each closure, the existing bridge will be demolished and the new bridge slid into place.
Want your voice heard? Take a survey here after the work is done this weekend.