Clinton/North Compo/Main Street Realignment Project Reappears!

The spectacularly glacial speed at which the Merritt Parkway North Avenue bridge project is proceeding led alert “06880” reader David Dean to ask: What’s up — if anything — with another project, just a few hundred yards away?

In May of 2013, the Connecticut Department of Transportation held a public information session at Town Hall. The subject: the “skewed geometry” of the Main Street/Compo Road/Clinton Avenue intersection.

North Compo Road (shown at the bottom of this Google Earth View photo) and Clinton Avenue (top) are not aligned. That makes this intersection with Main Street one of the most difficult -- and dangerous -- in Westport.

North Compo Road (shown at the bottom of this Google Earth View photo) and Clinton Avenue (top) are not aligned. That makes this intersection with Main Street one of the most difficult — and dangerous — in Westport.

DOT’s principal engineer outlined a plan — by then 10 years (!) in the making — to widen the east side of Main Street for 1,000 feet, widen North Compo to include a left turn lane, and realign through traffic to Clinton. The project would also replace culverts for Willow Brook.

DOT put the cost of the project at $2 million. Construction was expected to start in the spring of 2015, and be finished that fall.

Yeah, and I can walk to the planet Zork.

Construction is not yet finished, for a very good reason: It has not begun.

A Google Maps view of the same intersection.

A Google Maps view of the same intersection. Main Street is on the right side of the photo, rising northeastward from the middle of the photo. Clinton Avenue starts at the top, and after crossing — with difficulty — Main Street, becomes North Compo Road.

Spurred by David’s request, I asked the selectman’s office for an update on the project. It took awhile for them to find out — they’re dealing with the DOT, after all — but this afternoon, Town Hall issued a press release.

DOT has “rescheduled” the project. It is now set to begin April 1, with completion set for fall 2016.

It was put on “hold” by DOT, pending approval for the culvert installation by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Detours resulting from the Merritt Parkway North Avenue bridge project — which involve Weston Road — added to the decision to delay the project.

The good news: The job has finally been bid on.

The bad news: It will entail closing a section of Compo Road North for a month or so during the summer.

Which, in DOT-speak, means more than a month, at a time still to be determined.

22 responses to “Clinton/North Compo/Main Street Realignment Project Reappears!

  1. April 1st? Really? Sounds like a DOT joke.

  2. April 1st? April fools?

  3. The town should work with the DOT to bring the sewer line down to those properties on (North) Main Street especially since they’re going to widen the street and take some land the homeowners now use. It would be a very nice, and cost effective, and timely thing to do.

  4. Naomi Weingart

    Is there any chance that we will see a reworking of the traffic flow near where Daybreak Nursery used to be? That area needs a lot of improvement.

  5. Agree Naomi, that intersection needs major work done on it. Should just make it a fourway stop, or traffic light, and fill in that curve on Weston Rd.

    • DOT will begin studying it in 2019. Plans will be drawn up in 2022. A public meeting will be held in 2023 (it’s being fast-tracked). It will be put out to bid in 2025. Construction is slated to begin in 2029, but there may be unforeseen circumstances. Completion is scheduled for fall of 2042. Give or take a few centuries.

  6. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Between the DOT and Donald J Trump how does one keep sanity?

  7. The primary mission of the CT DOT is to spread pork. The longer projects take, the easier it is to spread the pork. Malloy wants the DOT to spend $100 billion, no matter what. Malloy is on a mission to drive up taxes and the debt as high as is possible before he leaves for greener pastures. Elections do have consequences.

  8. It’s been over 10 years since I lived in Westport but I don’t remember that intersection at Clinton, Main, and North Compo being all that terrible. Has it gotten much worse in ten years? Is this a rush hour problem, AM and PM? Aren’t most all Westport intersections a problem at rush hour? And lots of intersections have “mis-aligned” roads – that’s not bad in itself. But I hated the traffic and drivers in Westport, one reason I left for “greener pastures.”

  9. Arline P.Gertzoff

    The intersection of Clinton, Main, and Compo North is often a nightmare .During construction the currently one way Maplewood Avenue should be open to two way-traffic to alleviate turning left onto Clinton Avenue from Main Street. I have lived in this neighborhood for 60 years and its a miracle there have not been more serious accidents. I have even had people go around me to turn left onto Clinton because I didn’t risk jumping the light. They gained less then 30 seconds. The potential is there for an even worse situation than North Avenue. Maybe somebody knows when the state plans to fix the other nightmare intersection opposite the former Daybreak Nursery?/Weston Rd. I read awhile back that’s slated for improvement?????? It was listed as one of the worst in the state? At least the speed bumps on Oak Street will slow the likely traffic jams of cars using Oak to Richmondville to get to Main Street. Closing any part of Compo North especially in the summer will be an even greater challenge. Can’t wait.

  10. This is just typical State Transportation. Several years ago I was commuting and every night going east on Bridge Street waited for the light at Compo Road. At the time, the right lane was for right turn and the left lane was left turn and straight. I suggested to Gordon that the left lane should be left turn and the right lane should be right and straight, since very few cars made the right onto Compo and lots of cars make the left, blocking the folks who wanted to go straight. Much to my surprise, the WPD agreed with me. THREE YEARS later, the State made the change; and made it a much bigger project than was necessary.

    • A similar situation still exists at Kings Highway/Wilton Road. If you’re headed west, with the medical center (“Fort Apache”) on your right, you have the right lane marked for straight AND right turn. Most people do not turn left onto Wilton Road, but if you’re headed right onto Wilton you have to wait behind cars that are headed straight onto Kings Highway. The right lane should be right turn only.

  11. Clinton/136 is not one of the most dangerous/trickiest intersections! As others have pointed out, 57/136 by Daybreak is far worse. As are any number of Post Road intersections where traffic is heavier and faster — the worst probably being Bulkley by Stop & Shop and Home Goods strip malls. Misaligned similarly to Clinton, but much more traffic due to the retail.

  12. Dan, it would be interesting to check if DOT even keeps track of accident statistics to prioritize their projects. I suspect some of their projects actually make things worse. For example, the hodge-podge 4-lane widening of Rt 7 in Wilton-Ridgefield stretch encourages speeding, but creates unpredictable merges where the road goes back to 2 lanes, and there have been a number of fatal accidents in past couple of years. Has the accident rate gone up? No one reports, so we don’t know.

  13. don l bergmann

    I hope that those with legitimate traffic suggestions convey them to our DPW Director, Steve Edwards or to the CT DOT. I expect that Steve Edwards’ office could provide a name and e mail address. I do tend to think that traffic calming devices, possibly things like miss aligned roads, may sometimes be more beneficial than harmful. Don Bergmann

  14. “Do si do your partner.”.. The intersection of Clinton Ave, and Main Street has always felt like a square dance with beginners with no clue how to do si do. With traffic volume increasing the intersection does need a change…but I agree that Daybreak area near the Merritt parkway seems in more need of traffic flow improvements. Stay Safe !

  15. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Baffling. I can never tell when people here are exaggerating!

    After reading so many, many complaints about the “roads of Westport”, the “drivers of Westport”, the “out-of -town drivers in Westport” life in Westport seems very, very odd. Almost paranoid. Certainly not good for tourism.

    Is it really that hard to have basic stop signs/traffic lights/traffic circles added?
    If so, “elections do have consequences”.

  16. Bobbie Herman

    Rather than taking God-knows-how-many-years to reconfigure the intersection, wouldn’t it be quicker, and less expensive to install left-turn traffic signals?

  17. All of these intersections should have been taken care like 20 to 25 years ago. When there was noticeable population/traffic spike. Clinton/Main came upon the intersection to see tow truck taking away banged up car and a number of really close calls. Same with Daybreak area it’s been a nightmare for decades….It got crazier starting in the late 1990’s. US RT 1 and Bulkey (Stop and Shop) that intersection is not for the ‘faint of heart’ that one is always a nail bitter especially at night.

    • If people were a little more courteous, and didn’t try to rush ahead of evryone else, there would be a lot less accidents. Oh, I forgot — this is Westport.

  18. Wendy Crowther

    In the early 1970s, I took Driver’s Ed at Staples. The teacher (Frank Weiss) showed photos to the class of the most dangerous intersections in Westport. He then taught us the proper principles to be used and how to be wary in these spots. I remember only two of the intersections that he highlighted. One was the intersection of 136 and Bayberry. That spot was fixed a few years ago. The other was the 136 intersection at Daybreak Nursery.

    Forty-plus years later, the Daybreak intersection hasn’t changed in configuration. I think of Mr. Weiss’ advice and pay attention every time I’m in the thick of it there. No collisions yet. However, the many tricky problems in this location have been compounded since the 1970s because traffic congestion is worse, and there are fewer drivers who know (ahem…care about) the rules of the road at stop-signs and merges. Nowadays, the only rule is “me first.” I’m always glad that the type of driving I was taught so many years ago was called “Defensive Driving.”

  19. Although they started taking down the trees this week, the DOT still has not notified the property owners effected by the construction that the work will be beginning.