Gold Star Memorial Bridge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gold Star Memorial Bridge
Gold Star Bridge Groton CT.jpg
A view of the two spans of The Gold Star Memorial Bridge, as seen from the pedestrian path on the Groton side, looking back toward New London across the Thames River.
Carries Motor vehicles and a pedestrian/bicycle path on the south span
I-95 / US 1
Crosses Thames River
Locale New London, Connecticut
Official name Gold Star Memorial Bridge
Maintained by Connecticut Department of Transportation
Design Truss - Deck
Total length 1,807.8 m (5,931 ft 1 14 in) / 1,941 m (6,368 ft 1 38 in)
Width 24.4 m (80 ft 58 in) /
24.4 m (80 ft 58 in)
Clearance below 41.1 m (134 ft 10 18 in)
Opened 1943 (twinned 1973)

The Gold Star Memorial Bridge is a pair of steel truss bridges that carries both Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 1 across the Thames River between New London, Connecticut, US and Groton, Connecticut. The bridge is the largest structure in the state with over 1,000,000 sq ft (93,000 m2). of deck area and the longest bridge in the state at 6,000 feet (1,800 m).[1] Its 11 highway lanes accommodate an average daily traffic of 117,000 vehicles.[2] Local media outlets and residents refer to the bridge as "The Goldstar".


The structure was completed in 1943 as a single span. It was part of Southeastern Connecticut's "free span" highway bypass, a short 3.6-mile (5.8 km) long four-lane stretch connecting New London, Connecticut to Groton, Connecticut. As part of the new highway, the bridge's purpose was to remove automobiles from a previous bridge that carried U.S. Route 1 over the Thames River.[3] In 1958, the bypass was connected to the I-395/I-95 intersection in East Lyme, Connecticut.[4]

On December 12, 1964 after completion of the 13-mile (21 km) Route 184 bypass to the Rhode Island border, the bridge and both bypasses were officially part of Interstate 95.[4]In 1951 the bridge was designated as the "Gold Star Memorial Bridge" in honor of those members of the Armed Forces of the United States from Groton, New London, and Waterford who lost their lives during World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.[5]

During construction of the second span on July 1, 1972, the US Coast Guard Academy's sail training vessel, the three masted barque USCGC Eagle (WIX-327), was involved in a serious accident with the bridge as she was returning to her berth in New London. Despite extensive precautions, as the ship passed below the original span and the new span being built parallel to it, her foremast and mainmast caught the safety netting slung below the new bridge. Both masts were snapped off about seven-eighths of the way up each mast, the upper parts left hanging dangerously from the remaining upright parts of the masts. As a result, the ship had to undergo emergency repairs. The bridge's second span was completed in 1973.[6]


The design is a pair of steel truss bridges, each composed of eleven spans.[7][8]

The posted traffic speed limit is 55 miles per hour.

The bridge's southbound span has a sidewalk/bike path accessible from Bridge St and Riverview Ave on the Groton side and Williams Street on the New London side.[9][10]



  1. ^ "WTS CT Valley Chapter: 2009 Annual Awards Program" (PDF). Women's Transportation Seminar. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "2006 Traffic Volumes State Maintained Highway Network (Traffic Log)" (PDF). Connecticut Department of Transportation. 2006. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Oglesby, Scott (30 November 2009). "Connecticut US 1". Kurimi. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Connecticut Turnpike". Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "2005 Connecticut Code - Sec. 13a-31. Gold Star Memorial Bridge named.". Justia. 2005. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  6. ^ New London Day, July 1, 1972.
  7. ^ "Gold Star Memorial Bridge". Bridgehunter. 19 March 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "Gold Star Memorial Bridge". Structurae. 28 February 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "BIKE NEW LONDON BIKE ROUTES, TRAILS, AND MAPS". Bike New London. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "2009 Connecticut Bicycle Map" (PDF). Connecticut Department of Transportation. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 

Coordinates: 41°21′51″N 72°5′15″W / 41.36417°N 72.08750°W / 41.36417; -72.08750

External links[edit]