Comin’ Down The Pike

Turnout was low last week at Town Hall, as the Connecticut Department of Transportation unveiled plans for an I-95 bridge renovation plan that could have dramatic effects on Westport traffic.

The 2-year project — beginning in the spring of 2018, and including decking and girder replacement — would run from Norwalk’s Yankee Doodle Bridge (Exit 16) through the span high above the Saugatuck River.

It would entail lane closures (with the familiar miles of safety cones set out long before actual work), and possible rerouting of traffic along Saugatuck and Riverside Avenues, the Post Road and Sherwood Island Connector.

The specter of enormous tractor-trailers making that tight Riverside/Post Road turn is bad enough. With everyone nowadays using Waze, many drivers would instead try to use the Bridge Street/Greens Farms Road shortcut. If, that is, the Bridge Street Bridge were not being rehabilitated at the same time.

The Saugatuck River bridge, under construction in 1957. Back then, I-95 was called the Connecticut Turnpike.

The Saugatuck River bridge, under construction in 1957. Back then, I-95 was called the Connecticut Turnpike.

But wait! There’s more!

The DOT also hopes to resurface nearly 5 miles of the Merritt Parkway, from Newtown Turnpike to Congress Street in Fairfield. That project — planned to begin in the spring of 2017 — would also include bridge work. (Hopefully, the interminable North Avenue bridge renovation would finally be done by then.)

A public hearing is set for Wednesday (January 27, 7 p.m.) in the Town Hall auditorium.

No one denies that our 2 major highways need work.

But it’s clear too that the twin projects will have major impacts not only on those roadways, but many others throughout Westport.

8 responses to “Comin’ Down The Pike

  1. Bobbie Herman

    I think the Yankee Doodle Bridge could use some work, too. PS — I still call it the Turnpike.

  2. Matthew Mandell

    This is why preserving the Bridge St Bridge and its present height is imperative. If 18 wheelers could fit under it then that would be the fastest route around the construction. We don’t want these types of trucks on our roads short term or long term.

    We are looking at a perfect storm – The Bridge, 95 and the Merritt.

  3. Thanks for keeping us informed.

  4. many leading citizens of Westport and the county tried to have that (I 95) built not along the shore, but instead up through the industrial areas to the
    north. my father was never the same after their sensible plan was rejected
    by DOT. after DOT ruined everything, Mom and Dad moved to Rhode Island.

    • Buell, how far to the north was the proposed alternative route? (What industrial areas would it have been routed through?) Thanks.

      I had seen one alternative route which, through Westport, would have in part been very close to the Post Road. I don’t know if that would have been any less disruptive than what was ultimately built.

  5. What a goat rodeo this is turning into. A cynical person might possibly conclude that the whole reason DOT made such a fuss about replacing the Saugatuck Swing Truss Bridge last summer is because it wanted to set up an alternate route for when it began work on the nearby “structurally deficient” I95 bridge. All this time we thought we were at the table – and now it appears we’re actually on the menu.

  6. Governor Malloy and the Democrats in Hartford have plans that are far more odious than those enumerated by Dan. Malloy and his cronies want the right to seize land within one-quarter mile of a train station using eminent domain. If Malloy gets his way; virtually all of Saugatuck becomes subject to seizure by the State, as does all of Stony Point, and all of GFA. What happens to the Cribari Bridge would be of little relevance should Malloy’s plans become law.

    In addition, the Democrats in Hartford, and some in Westport, favor reinstituting tolls on 95 and the Merritt. The money from the tolls would find its way into one pork barrel plan or another. The tolls would provide some incentive on the margin for drivers to choose local streets over the roads with tolls; more traffic in Saugatuck. The Democrats must not like Saugatuck and the people who live there.