NEW MILFORD -- New Milford motorists may find themselves groaning this weekend as traffic is reduced to one alternating lane over Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Spanning the Housatonic River, the bridge is a chief entry point to the downtown and for travel east and north in town.
The state Department of Transportation's regular safety inspection will start Thursday and continue through Sunday.
The hours of alternating traffic will be Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
DOT bridges are inspected at least every two years and rated on a scale of 0 to 9, with 9 being the best.
In its last inspection in 2010, Veterans Memorial Bridge's superstructure received a 7, its substructure received a 4, and its deck received a 7.
"This inspection should produce higher numbers than the 2010 inspection," said Kevin Nursick, DOT spokesman.
"In April, we replaced a good number of old and deteriorating rivets in the gusset plates. They were replaced with high-strength steel bolts."
Nursick stressed there was "no safety issue with the substructure" despite its rating of 4, which equates to poor condition.
It is the substructure that should receive a much higher rating this time, he said, given the rivet replacements.
Nursick added that ratings of 7 "are impressive" for a bridge as old as this. A 7 is the bottom number in the top rating category.
"We're very cautious with the ratings in the inspection process," he said. "We are conservative on the side of safety."
When U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., was in New Milford in February, he visited the span as he addressed the issue of aging infrastructure around the state.
"The average bridge in Connecticut is 47 years old. That's just too old," Murphy said, adding that he plans to push for a "robust" transportation program on the federal level.
Veterans Memorial Bridge is a steel through-truss bridge. Built in 1951, the bridge withstood the flood of 1955.
It provides a crossing of the Housatonic River for motorists on routes 202 and 67.
In 2000, its entire structure was rehabilitated -- the deck, superstructure and substructure reworked.
When the last inspection of the bridge occurred in 2010, Grove Street was under reconstruction to the Charles Marsh Bridge at Lovers Leap, making Veterans Memorial Bridge the sole entry point to downtown.