Saugatuck Bridge Historic, Rehabilitation Processes Move Forward

Westport’s Historic District Commission has voted unanimously to accept a report documenting the historical significance of the Bridge Street (aka William F. Cribari) swing bridge. The commission recommends designating it as a Local Historic District.

That starts the clock ticking on a series of actions: public hearings, state review and more. This happens at the same time as discussions on renovation, rehabilitation or replacement of the 1884 structure, believed to be the oldest active pin-connected swing truss highway bridge in the nation.

One of the most important upcoming events is Wednesday, June 15 (Town Hall auditorium). The Connecticut Department of Transportation holds a public meeting to discuss findings of its Rehabilitation Study Report. The formal presentation begins at 7 p.m., An open forum for individual discussion with DOT officials precedes it, at 6:30 p.m.

First Selectman Jim Marpe says the report will address questions related to the bridge’s structural and functional deficiencies, possible alternatives and costs.

(To read the full — and fascinating — historic district study report, click here. The complete DOT report will be available June 1 at www.ct.gov/dot/cribari-bridge. Copies will also be available at the June 15 Town Hall meeting.)

Westport artist Robert Lambdin's "Saugatuck in the 19th Century" (1969) prominently featured the swing bridge.

Westport artist Robert Lambdin’s “Saugatuck in the 19th Century” (1969) prominently featured the swing bridge.

10 responses to “Saugatuck Bridge Historic, Rehabilitation Processes Move Forward

  1. Wilhelmina de Haas

    I love this bridge – a national treasure! It’ll be interesting to see what happens when this bridge goes under repair. The traffic in Saugatuck is already quite hideous….

  2. And traffic will remain quite hideous after the repair if this historic bridge is kept in its current configuration.

    • I drove through Saugatuck at 6 tonight. The bridge intersection is the least of the problems. Traffic flows heavily on every single street–Treadwell, Riverside, Saugatuck Ave. I-95 ramps are backed up coming and going.

      Imagining Saugatuck’s traffic when Railroad Place is fully developed, Hiawatha Lane’s 150 house holds are added, etc. is pretty impossible.

      Certainly replacing the Bridge Street Bridge with a configuration that allows 18 wheelers as well as the present flow of cars trying to avoid the bottleneck of I95 into Saugatuck will only worsen an already congested situation.

  3. Harris Falk

    While the bridge could be a little wider, traffic would not improve by replacing it with a 4 lane bridge. The congestion is caused by the intesection at Riverside. A 4 lane bridge would only increase delays.
    What is required is another bridge. A bridge connecting the Ferry Lanes would improve traffic flow in the area, with the bonus of being able to repair the swing bridge without dropping down to two Saugatuck bridges.

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      If they can’t afford maintenance on the existing bridges throughout the years, I’m not confident they would want to afford the $4m total that it would cost to buy the houses on either side of Ferry Lane.

      • Werner Liepolt

        Hmmm. What you might want to do is see how the state is handling private ownership issues related to the repair of the Walk Bridge in Norwalk. Succinctly… The owners of property are not happy. Developers waiting in the wings are.

  4. I agree that a larger bridge would only exacerbate the already congested area. So the gain is not absolute or even probable… Being so historic, Saugatuck should maintain this bridge so that travelers, as they enter our town from Rt. 95 and our town’s residents, alike, can experience a visual piece of Westport, Connecticut charm…Just take a deep breath and leave a little more time to get where you are going when using that route!

  5. Westport town hall Wednesday June 15 meeting schedule… Click the link for complete information…

    http://us12.campaign-archive2.com/?u=542d69c9e3545a6f3f3de4c00&id=c3a6f310c7&e=495730a9c3

    Review ConnDOT’s record of failed major projects. Your vigilance is needed.

  6. Has anyone considered the flow of traffic under the bridge? By that I mean boat traffic. Currently its very difficult to catch a low tide to take you under the bridge. With the congestion at compo marina, its a 6 year waiting list for a boat slip. Doesn’t it make sense to build a bridge that will allow boats with a higher clearance to navigate under the bridge. Giving them access to slips tat are currently not being used on the other side of the bridge.

    • Werner liepolt

      I’m of the opinion that the town should get the USArmy corps of engineers to dredge then put a new marina at Riverside Park to empty that waiting list.