A View From The Bridge

Alert “06880” reader Jo Shields noticed something new yesterday on the Merritt Parkway North Avenue bridge:

North Avenue bridge

She writes:

With the appearance of black plastic-wrapped traffic lights strung at both ends of the North Avenue bridge, it looks as if we are into this construction business for the long haul.

The bridge has been open to 1-lane traffic from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with construction crews directing traffic. I wonder if the light will allow the bridge to be open longer to local traffic, or just free up the extra crew.

However, I haven’t seen any construction work going on. Optimistically thinking, perhaps that’s taking place from 6:01 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. ?

10 responses to “A View From The Bridge

  1. This is the very bridge where, some 58 years ago, my uncle, in a most rascally, avuncular manner, taught me time dropping spit so that it would hit the windshields of cars passing underneath.

  2. When it comes to state owned bridges and the DOT, we might as well be sitting in coach on that Malaysian jetliner. Consider the bombshell revelation that just spilled out at this past Tuesday’s Historic District Commission (HDC) public hearing on the National Register listed 1884 Saugatuck Swing Truss Bridge (route 136) – the only surviving hand operated movable bridge in the state. After some soothing words from the First Selectman and the HDC Chair (a political appointee) about the historic importance of the bridge, we’re working with DOT, the State Historic Preservation Office is on it, everyone should just relax and look away, yadda, yadda, a man in the audience (who just happened to be there for another matter) casually mentioned that his construction firm was just approached by a representative of DOT. The representative wanted to know if the firm would be interested in the (no bid) job of constructing DOT’s replacement for the Saugatuck Swing Truss Bridge – a design that was described as an arched platform made of steel. The man in the audience went onto describe in some detail the federal program that would be funding this work, the deadlines, etc., etc. Well, good to know. But I’d like to know if DOT wants to finally implement its full death star plan to build a four lane road from the intersection of South Compo and Bridge Street to, wait for it, Saugatuck Avenue – complete with a four lane arched platform bridge and clover leaf exits. That would be the plan that it tried to implement 1968, 1973, 1975, and sort of in 1986. Might want to put your tray in its upright position.

  3. You couldn’t have been in Saugatuck this summer without seeing the crews of ConnDOT surveyors surveying the William F Cribari bridge… Stimulating many rumors but explained by no one. I have inquired about the usually required public hearings when a planned project affects a National Historic Structure, especially one which is the focus of intense public awareness. So far the response to my inquiries has been a deafening silence. And so I become increasingly concerned when I read that Westporters have to infer what is happening when events like new traffic lights suddenly appear. We shouldn’t tolerate the rumor-filled darkness that seems to be descending on us.

  4. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    The “death star bridge” will fit right in next to the historic turnpike bridge. Why did the WHS allow LH Gault to remove the equally historic oil tank? Next thing you know they’ll be replacing the Levitt with a garbage dump. Oh the humanity!!!

  5. Carl Volckmann

    It will still be one-way,, The traffic lights will control when the southbound and northbound traffic will alternately use the one lane, thus not requiring a flagman or other construction worker.

  6. Elina Lublinsky

    Having to take this road multiple times a day, every day, all I can say is that traffic flows much more smoothly with the addition of the traffic light.

  7. If we really are in this for the long haul I’m guessing it’ll be spring until it’s open to 2 lane traffic and 100% finished as asphalt plants close around November. The traffic lights seem to be a possible hint of this.

  8. Wendy Crowther

    I was at the HDC meeting described by Morley Boyd (above). There remains little doubt that the Saugatuck Swing Bridge (built in 1884) has a target on its back and the DOT is taking aim. Despite the fact that this historic bridge is the only remaining bridge of its kind in CT, our HDC Chair, our HDC Vice Chair, and our First Selectman did not support taking formal action to let CT DOT know that Westport cares about this historic bridge. For nearly 100 years, the town’s leadership and citizenry have fended off State attempts to replace this bridge – instead they’ve insisted on historically sensitive repair and rehabilitation. I remain astounded as to why those mentioned above were so unwilling to take a pro-active stance toward preservation.

    Ultimately the fate of the bridge will rest in the State’s hands. However,in the past, local pressure always softened the DOT’s blow – they repaired rather than replaced. Luckily, three HDC members saw the wisdom of circling some wagons well ahead of time in order to prepare for historical advocacy. Their vote overruled the wait-and-see attitudes of the other HDC members who favored the First Selectman’s stance. Huh? Wait to see what the DOT has planned first? That’s too little, too late. If the North Ave. bridge project is any indication of what THAT could look like, Westporters and our historic bridge are in big trouble.

  9. It is my understanding that the politicized and scandal plagued Westport HDC is now the target of a far reaching FOIA probe. I suspect we’re about to find out what those who are supposed to advocate for the preservation of Westport’s built environment have really been up to.