When school buses roll 2 weeks from today, they’ll roll right over the Merritt Parkway, on the North Avenue bridge.
There will be alternating lanes of traffic — but not the nightmare scenario that Westporters involved with Staples High, Bedford and Coleytown Middle, and Coleytown Elementary Schools imagined.
That’s the official word from Kevin Nursick. The Connecticut Department of Transportation spokesman told “06880” this afternoon that “unforeseen circumstances” related to the condition of the structure increased the amount of rehabilitation work beyond what was originally anticipated.
“When we opened the bridge up, it looked worse than expected,” Nursick said. “It’s not a huge structure. But it was evident the deck would need more extensive repairs.”
Since the start of the project, Nursick explained, the contractor was on a “24/6” schedule. Work continued around the clock, 6 days a week.
That schedule changed a week ago, due to issues on the west side of the bridge. A support system was needed for the new parapet. That in turn required the state police to close the parkway for installation.
“It won’t take long — 10 or 15 minutes,” Nursick said. “But there’s a lot of legwork involved. We’re still working with them to schedule a time.”
Nursick promises that one lane on North Avenue will be open to alternating traffic on August 26 — the day before school begins.
It’s likely that North Avenue will be closed again at night, to expedite work.
Until then, Nursick said that crews will work 2 shifts, “probably 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 8 p.m to 3 a.m.”
Nursick said that the entire project will be finished by some time in October — the original time frame.