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Washington Bridge
Official name Washington Bridge
Carries 4 lanes of U.S. Route 1
Crosses Housatonic River
Locale Stratford and Milford (Connecticut)
Maintained by Connecticut Department of Transportation[1]
Design steel trunnion-bearing movable(bascule bridge)
Total length 859 feet (262 m)
Width 43 feet (13 m)
Number of spans 12
AADT 23,300
Opening 1921 (reconstructed 1990)
Toll None
Coordinates 41°12′01″N 73°06′37″W / 41.20028°N 73.11028°W / 41.20028; -73.11028
Washington Bridge
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Washington Bridge (Connecticut) is located in Connecticut
Location: US 1 at Housatonic R, Milford, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°12′1″N 73°6′39″W / 41.20028°N 73.11083°W / 41.20028; -73.11083Coordinates: 41°12′1″N 73°6′39″W / 41.20028°N 73.11083°W / 41.20028; -73.11083
Area: 0.9 acres (0.36 ha)
Built/Founded: 1921
Architect: Connecticut Highway Department; Waddell & Son, et al.
Architectural style(s): Late 19th and 20th Century Revivals, open-spandrel concrete arch
Governing body: State
Added to NRHP: September 29, 2004
NRHP Reference#: 04001093[2]
The Washington Bridge from the Stratford shoreline.

For other bridges of the same name, see Washington Bridge (disambiguation).

The Washington Bridge carries U.S. Route 1 over the Housatonic River in the U.S. state of Connecticut, connecting the city of Milford to the town of Stratford. Its geographic location is N 41.20037 by W -73.11039. It is considered architecturally notable by the National Register of Historic Places for its five 100 foot long arches.[citation needed]

The Washington Bridge is the longest drawbridge on the Boston Post Road.[citation needed] It is a steel trunnion-bearing bascule drawbridge. 859 feet in length by 43 feet in width, featuring two lanes in each direction for automotive traffic and a sidewalk for pedestrians. The clear channel for shipping is 125 feet wide.[3]

An alternate name for the structure is "The Devon Bridge".[4]



Prior to the current bridge there were two prior spans serving from 1808 to 1869 & 1869 to 1921, as shown in the image below.

Postcard displaying the current and two prior bridges.

The first noted transport across the river at this point was a ferry that began service around May 1758. The Sons of the American Revolution note that this crossing was likely used by George Washington on his journey from Philadelphia to Cambridge, Massachusetts to assume his command of the Colonial Army in 1775.[5]

The first bridge at this point was proposed in 1803 by the Milford and Stratford Bridge Company, whom changed their name to the Washington Bridge Company that same year. The first permanent standing bridge opened in 1813, complete with a toll.[6]

In 1844 Governor Roger Sherman Baldwin vetoed a bill requiring the Washington Bridge Company to make alterations to the bridge at its own expense even though the conditions requiring these changes did not exist when the bridge was originally built. The veto was overridden by an act of the Connecticut General Assembly.[7]

In 1845 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the act was unconstutional in Washington Bridge Company v. Stewart.[8]

Built in 1921, the original fabricator of the current bridge was Bethlehem Steel Bridge. [9] It was designed by John Alexander Low Waddell, a noted structural engineer with over 1000 structures to his credit. Originally the bridge supported two streetcar tracks and two lanes for passenger cars. [10] At the time of its construction, it was the most expensive project yet undertaken by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, costing $1.5 million.[11]

The Washington Bridge was named a Registered Historic Place by the National Register of Historic Places on 29 September 2004. [12]

Non-motorized access

The Washington Bridge is the only crossing of the Housatonic River for pedestrians or bicyclists near Long Island Sound.[13] The next available crossing would be the newly reconstructed Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridge roughly 3.5 miles (5.6 km) upriver.

It is illegal to fish from the bridge.


The bridge has seen several renovations, including those completed in:

  • 1935: Removal of streetcar apparatus to increase passenger car traffic from two lanes to four.
  • 1990: Repaving and superstructure (including concrete parapet and railing).[14]
  • 2007: $18.5 million overhaul which included fibreglass fenders for the bridge piers, installation of its own generator, a new bridge control system, and a complete overhaul to the mechanical apparatus.[15]

Safety Inspection Results

Inspection (as of 08/2008):

  • Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
  • Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
  • Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
  • Sufficiency rating: 53.4 (out of 100)[16]

See also


  1. ^ Connecticut Department of Transportation
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  3. ^ [1]"State of Connecticut Highway Department Original Washington Bridge Plans" Accessed 6 October 2008.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ [2]Web page titled "A History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut By Samuel Orcutt, Fairfield County Historical Society (page 437)" at Google Book Search Web site, accessed 16 September 2008
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ [3]Web page titled "Biennial Report of the Highway Commissioner to the Governor By Connecticut State Highway Dept (page 36)" at Google Books Web site, accessed 16 September 2008
  10. ^ [4] "Milford" from Trolley Towns Website accessed 6 October 2008.
  11. ^
  12. ^ [5]Web page titled "Federal Register / Vol. 69, No. 179 / Thursday, September 16, 2004 / Notices 55835", accessed 17 September 2008
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^


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