DOT: North Avenue Bridge WILL Be Open

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.

DOT logoThat’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.

The Merritt Parkway North Avenue bridge -- before reconstruction.

The Merritt Parkway North Avenue bridge — before reconstruction.


22 responses to “DOT: North Avenue Bridge WILL Be Open

  1. Looks like a positive update. Glad to see the project and State weren’t as negligent as your earlier posts suggested. Reminds us all that patience is a virtue.

    • Yes, some folks are always so quick to jump to conclusions and blame everything on the government. Especially one folk with initials BS. 🙂

      • Nancy W Hunter

        Andy, everyone deserves his/her/their opinion.
        Petty arguments are useless. Good arguments solve problems.

      • Andy….this is all the State governments fault….Republicans ….Democrats….full of crap politicians who defer proper maintenance for more self serving projects!

  2. Dan:

    Wasn’t the bridge scheduled to be opened on August 17th?

    • Yes. The supposed bridge opening of “August 17” is different from completion of the entire project “some time in October.”

  3. Some time in October is not August 17th.

    “One week ago Shalal Hussein, project engineer for the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT), said his crews were working around the clock so the North Avenue bridge spanning the Merritt Parkway would be restored and reopened by the stated completion target date Aug. 17.

    Today, CDOT and town officials said the 1939-built, art deco bridge that handles 1,200 vehicles a day will not even be completed by the start of school Aug. 27. The best bridge workers can do is to have one lane open with traffic officers at each end on the first day of school.”

    • Nancy W Hunter

      What is your point?

      It is what it is.

      • If you had a student who had to travel over the bridge you might feel differently, but then, you don’t live in Westport do you.

        • Nancy W Hunter

          Everyone is in the same boat. Even the teachers.

          • “Everyone”, not true. You are not in the same boat, you don’t live here. You don’t pay real estate taxes here, and you have no children in the public schools here. People who don’t pay real estate taxes in Westport, don’t have real skin in the game. People who don’t pay real estate taxes and don’t have children in the public school system have virtually no skin in the game. Why rely on the opinions of those who have no stake in the outcomes of the actions they recommend?

            So, if the teachers are inconvenienced, and the students and parents are inconvenienced, every thing is just fine with you. At this point we have no idea how significant the inconvenience will be; when the schools open we will have evidence.

            The fact remains, the DOT said the repairs would be complete by August 17, and that will not be the case. No amount of rationalizations will change that fact.

  4. Makes sense to me. Once “the project” is actually openened up ther are bound to be more fixes than realized on the start. Duh? However, they should be on it overtime, that I don’t get.

    • On the other hand, I’m sure there are many similar bridges that have been rehabilitated. Seems as if the contractor should have anticipated problems.

  5. Sharon Paulsen

    I’m thinking this will also affect commuters? That area (route 136 and the Cross Highway route) was always a reliable shortcut for drives to and from work (for me, heading to and from Westport, then later to and from Wilton), to avoiding the Merritt Parking-Lot commute.

    North avenue is a bit of a stretch though, inbetween those two popular routes, so maybe it won’t be too too bad for a month or two??

    Fairfield County in general has such YUGE (yep, say it in Donald speak – then it makes sense) congestion issues during rush “HOURS and HOURS), so … I guess it’s just one more possible PITA.

    But hey – bright side – our infrastructure is in dire need of revamping – so, one bridge at a time, aye?

  6. Just call Donald Trump! He will make sure it gets fixed!

  7. Eric Buchroeder SHS '70

    Thanks Dan for taking point on this important topic. Since this thread is mostly finger pointing (pointing the middle finger at the DOT because they pointed their middle finger on the August completion date) it should be pointed out that it took 80 years to get to this point. Another point (depending on your point of view) would be that splitting hairs at this point between August and October is pointless and somebody should point that out.

  8. Very true Eric. I was involved in commercial construction for most of my professional career. When you defer proper maintenance and continue to “kick the can down the road”, this is what happens. The blame should be placed on our politicians…not the contractor or DOT. When you start peeling back the layers….often you find that the damage is much more extensive and consequently expensive. Obviously, additional structural elements were needed and if you do not have all the pieces ready to go, you cannot accomplish anything. Having a bunch of $80.00 an hour unionized construction workers standing around for a feel good effect accomplishes nothing. Maybe parents will need to be inconvenienced and will need to get up a little earlier to deal with it….but just imagine if the repairs were not done and it failed with a bus full of kids on board. A month or so is a minor consequence. We have become such an instant gratification society full of unreasonable expectations. Deal with it people and enjoy the rest of the summer.

  9. What is happening with the North Ave bridge? Zero activity for 2 solid months ! What is going to happen when it snows?!!!