A Bridge Too Low

Word on the street — er, parkway — is that contractors are not the only ones to blame for long delays on the Merritt North Avenue bridge reconstruction project.

Temporary scaffolding enables workers to access the under-bridge areas. Because this reduces the clearance, a warning sensor detects when a vehicle has ignored signs on the roadway. Workers have 15 seconds to scramble off the scaffolding.

Since the scaffolding was erected in mid-June, it has been hit and damaged 9 times. Each time, it must be removed and repaired. This of course slows down the work.

Scaffolding underneath the Merritt Parkway bridge -- shown here at North Avenue last month -- has been struck 9 times since mid-June.

Scaffolding underneath the Merritt Parkway bridge — shown here at North Avenue last month — has been struck 9 times since mid-June.

Work is also slowed when the alarm goes off, but a vehicle does not strike the scaffolding. Crews still bail out. I’m sure that when they get back on, they’re not in the best frame of mind to work.

Interestingly, all of the hits to the scaffold have been southbound.

This seems to be one time that Westport drivers are not the ones screwing up.

Unless, of course, they’re driving too-high vehicles headed to Exit 42.

5 responses to “A Bridge Too Low

  1. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    I’ve observed from the relative isolation of Ohio that this type of “accident” occurs frequently across the country. Solution: Put a simple electric eye system on the entrance ramps that will sound an alarm when a vehicle can not clear the lowest point on the thoroughfare.

  2. Perhaps it’s the Parkway’s southbound warning signage that is a problem, that it’s not as effective as the northbound’s.

  3. We are way past August 17th. Why do they even bother to put a completion date on those construction signs?

  4. David Feliciano

    this is a regional problem with highways that were WPA Projects. Who knew trucks would get so tall or so Big overall. It must take a special lack of mental clarity, when one rents a Big Box Truck to NOT realize that you are the only BIG BOX TRUCK on the Parkway. I suppose the Rental Companies should Parkway NO stickers all over their windows and rental agreements with the drivers being assessed special tariffs when they strike the bridges.
    If feasible we should lower the roadway, since we can’t or wont raise these beauteous bridges, that lend so much character to our Nutmeg State.

  5. Some people mindlessly follow their GPS and end up on the parkway in an inappropriate vehicle, some are stupid and think “well I’m not a truck driver,” but some flat out ignore it intentionally. It’s the “if you can get away with it it’s ok” (or rules are for chumps) attitude. Easy to fix – enforce it more strongly, even for innocent mistakes.

    I drive to VT a lot with a car on a trailer. It’s a pain to go to 95 and through New Haven to get to 91 (once it took me an extra hour!) but trailers aren’t allowed on the parkway (even if they fit under the bridges) so I ignore Waze and head to 95. People need to wise up and understand the roads they are using.