Cribari Bridge: The Video

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video may be worth 1,000 pictures.

State Representative Jonathan Steinberg’s video of the Cribari (aka Bridge Street) Bridge shows the span in a way photos really can’t.

Whether you agree with his “repair — don’t replace” message or not, this brief film provides some intriguing views of a very controversial span.

57 responses to “Cribari Bridge: The Video

  1. Where’s the video to see?

  2. Thank you, Jonathan! The bridge must be saved AS IT IS!

  3. Wilhelmina de Haas

    I agree. Keep the bridge as it is. Just repair it. Last thing I want is 18 wheelers in my neighborhood. You know that if I95 is ever backed-up all those truck drivers will be using Bridge Street to get from exit 18 to exit 17 if a new, wider bridge is to be built. Saugatuck will be undergoing changes soon to “modernize” it – let’s keep a little of the history and charm that makes this part of town special.

  4. Cathy Romano

    I also agree Fix it do not replace it. Thank you, Jonathan!

  5. Cathy Walsh candidate for 136

    Dan,
    So now you’re posting political videos? Well…I guess you owe me the opportunity to post one of my paid for campaign ads.

    Stand by.

    Cathy Walsh
    P&Z Chair and Candidate for the 136th

    • No, I’m not. As I stated clearly in the text, this is not about whether or not you agree with the views in the video. It’s about presenting a video look at the bridge that I haven’t seen elsewhere.

  6. Michael Calise

    November – every couple of years sure wakes a few people up!

  7. gerald f. romano, jr.

    Jonathan,
    I thank you for your support for saving the Cribari Bridge
    I your video you showed some structural damage there are other locations
    that need repair. I can say those damaged locations have been there for years. Why didn’t the state repair them
    Gerald F. Romano, Jr.

  8. Trish Lawrence

    Wow, when I was a young mother many years ago how I hated that bridge. Back then I drove a behemoth Suburban filled with a gaggle of kids and a couple of dogs and it seemed like every crossing was a white knuckle moment. I’d just put my blinders on and hope for the best. Now my children are grown and I drive a small car and I’ve come to love the bridge. For me it’s a clip out of Frank Cappra’s epic film IT”S A WONDERFUL LIFE. It would break my heart as the days grow short and winter approaches not to see the bridge lit up in lights. It warms me to the core. It puts a little magic in the air and a smile on many faces, from kids buckled in their car seats to weary commuters getting off the train after a long day at work. Thanks to the Gault family Saugatuck has been beautifully revitalized and the bridge is part of the vista and old world charm. We have to make sure that we don’t lose it entirely, because once these landmarks are gone you can’t get them back. Finally let us not be naive about the potential influx of traffic and large trucks with a new bridge. Getting off I95 at exit 18 and cutting through Saugatuck to either exit 17 or perhaps 16 has always been a driving strategy when the interstate backs up going north or south. That’s just something that will inevitably happen.

  9. Cathy Walsh Chair P&Z Commission

    At last nights P&Z meeting, we received a formal presentation by the Westport Historic District Commission asking for our support of their study of the significance of the bridge. As we have done in the past, we elected to support their findings, and will be writing a letter of support.

    We will also draft our own letter to the DOT which will highlight other areas of concern to the P&Z regarding traffic, water etc.

    July 1 is the deadline for the written testimony to be submitted into the public record . If you want a say in saving the bridge you must write or email:

    Mark W Alexander,
    Transportation assistant planning director
    ctdot bureau of policy and planning,
    2800 Berlin turnpike, Newington ct 06131,

    Email
    Dot.environmentalplanning@ct.gov,

    For information go to http://www.PreserveWestport.com

    I urge all of you to do so NOW. JULY 1 is the deadline.

    Cathy Walsh
    Chair P&Z Commission

  10. TONY GIUNTA

    It has been 60+ years since the State of Connecticut began to tear open and rip out the heart of Saugatuck, splitting neighborhoods and causing families to relocate. It has only been in the recent decade that families and organizations have visually begun to rebuild Saugatuck and bring it back to that unique family oriented special section of Westport.

    Now the State of Connecticut wants to deal another blow to the Saugatuck community by forcing the Cribari Bridge to be replaced with a newer, bigger construction to accommodate the largest of trucks which will only clog the roadways leading to and from the bridge. A railroad bridge at the southwestern point crosses route 136; and as you travel northward on Riverside Ave you can see that the streets on the left side leading to the Post Rd. are signed for no thru truck traffic. There are no direct accesses to the Post Rd, save the intersection of Routes 1 and 33 where large trucks would find it difficult, at best, to turn left and head westbound on Route 1 after attempting a three-point-turn through the worst intersection in Westport and perhaps the State of Connecticut.

    The shortest and most direct route between exit 17 and 18, either north or southbound for Route I-95 would be Greens Farms Rd., Bridge St. and Charles St. to Riverside Ave and then to the ramps of I-95, thereby splitting the community of Saugatuck again. By the way, that route will pass through the area which has been proposed to be recognized as historic and scenic and which also house one of Westport’s landmark building (The Saugatuck Elementary School) as well as the home of 36 elderly families currently living in that complex.

    Westport, and especially Saugatuck have already suffered at the hands of the State of Connecticut and the State should begin to hold a higher rather than a lesser regard to the Saugatuck area in future years.

  11. Simply stated and well said.
    Thank you Jonathan!

  12. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Baffling that residents need a video, or even photos, of a bridge they see/travel across on a daily basis.

    • Nancy, can you please stop posting inane comments? One-third of “06880” readers do not live in Westport — like you. There have been a number of posts about the bridge, but some readers do not recall — or (in the case of friends and relatives of Westporters) — have never seen the bridge. And plenty of Westporters never venture over it either. My intention was to provide video evidence — showing the bridge from several angles, in context with nearby structures — to give readers a better visual representation of what we’re debating.

      What is baffling to me — and to many other “06880” readers, because I hear from them often — is your pathological need to comment on every single post, often multiple times, in a supercilious, lecturing way. Most of us are sick and tired of hearing every thought that comes out of your mouth, from 3,000 miles away.

      • Susan Iseman

        Amen, Dan.

      • Matt Saltus

        Well said Dan.

      • Dan,
        I have seen you, as a coach, preserve your equanimity when facing what are dire, heart-wrenching situations for your players. Nancy has been sent to you as a sort of a personal, daily test of your ability to apply that ability to every single second of your blogging life. Cherish this gift.

        Nancy!
        Lighten up.

      • Tom Feeley Sr.

        Nice try Dan😂
        You nailed it…”pathological‼️”
        I figured she was toast, BUT
        when I returned
        She’s baaaack!
        It didn’t even slow her down…
        But now, thanks to you, she’s funny😎

    • Jamie Walsh

      Hey Nancy,
      Vancouver has so many amazing bridges for you to obsess about…the Liongate Bridge, the Port Mann Bridge, the Burrard Street Bridge…Even a the Capilano and Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridges…worry and focus on your lovely bridges and we will worry and focus on ours.

    • Mary Schmerker, Staples 1958

      The video highlights the drastic difference in height. No, we don,t need it…but it visualizes the problem in a way we can’t appreciate when we are driving. I,for one, am glad it was posted.

  13. Wholeheartedly agree with Jonathan Steinberg!

  14. Morley Boyd

    I appreciate the position Rep. Steinberg has taken here and I value his interest. It’s important.

    Perhaps the only concern I might have is that “bike and pedestrian improvements” are not actually part of the DOT’s current rehabilitation plan for our bridge.

    The plan currently calls for the bridge to be widened four feet for new guide rails – nothing else. If one reads the DOT’s plan very carefully one will see that in widening the bridge, the agency also causes it to be raised as well.

    And you know what that means: it rhymes with truck.

    So there’s a bit of a danger, I think, in asking for asking for stuff like bike lanes, scooter lanes, double amputee pedestrian lanes and so on, whilst also holding firm on the need for the bridge’s essential preservation.

    The danger is that DOT would love in the worst way to sell us a new, concrete highway-style bridge that would satisfy all these “needs”. It’s about 50 feet wide and would partially occupy, by the DOT’s own admission, land that it does not currently have clear title to.

    Maybe it’s just me, but the current teak walkway we have is actually quite nice and feels good underfoot. You can kiss that goodbye once you start down the road to a new bridge. The reason? Everything will have to be built to current standards. Just ask the poor people over at Saugatuck Shores about their bridge. Talk about being killed by the cure.

    Let’s insist on the main thing: repairing this bridge in a manner that preserves the scale, nature and character of it and its surrounding neighborhood. It’s merely my opinion, of course, but I suspect that putting our hand out gives away some of our power.

    • Good catch Morely. Maybe Steinberg can make another paid political announcement explaining what he meant in the one Dan so generously posted, and maybe Dan will accommodate him again.

  15. Clarissa Moore, Westport Board of Finance

    Interesting. Jonathan, you seem to have changed your views since you presented to the RTM last October.

    Dan, Cathy Walsh should definitely be given equal opportunity to post campaign videos. In the upcoming election for State Representative Westport needs to send Hartford a message about several issues, not limited to the bridge. We must fight against tax increases and against the current gang’s propensity to use Fairfield County as the state’s pocketbook. Jonathan’s record in Hartford has not been strong.

    • Thanks, Clarissa. Please my comments above. I posted the video not as part of Jonathan’s campaign, but as a way for people to see the bridge that is not possible in still photographs. I noted in the text that people could agree or disagree with Jonathan’s position. If Cathy has a campaign video that shows Westport in a unique or interesting way, I’m happy to post it.

  16. Bart Shuldman

    Could there be a solution that benefits Westport while insuring trucks do not invade our town? Is it possible to raise the current bridge (in its form) to a height that will allow boats to travel beneath it that would add to the Westport economy? Restaurants could open along the shore and additional boats spaces/marinas help to alleviate the long waiting list at Compo. The Westport economy would grow which in turn helps everyone, including our schools and seniors. More tax income is always good for Westport.

    Here is a State of Connecticut website about ‘Through Truck Prohibitiions’ http://www.ct.gov/dot/cwp/view.asp?a=2314&q=566248

    If the bridge is in need of repair, could the state and town develop a plan that reaches a solution that is good for almost all?

    Just asking……

  17. That video is disingenuous and misleading. Showing the I95 bridge as an possible design option was just plan false and not becoming of a local elected community servant. What they do propose is a exact scale and style as the current truss system with a height adjustment of the roadway and swing gear to prevent flood damage when the storms come and minimize bridgelock and yes both storms and boat traffic are coming. So get ready for traffic not ever seen in this area it just doesn’t make practical sense not to raise this bridge and lessen the chance for storm damage and emergency vehicles locked up in “bridgelock”. IMHO add a height restriction of 13′ like it has now, that stops the trucks, maybe even a permit only access just in case its absolutely necessary to cross with a over width over height load one time.

  18. Dan…I think you’ve crossed the line on posting a clearly political video. You have added the opportunity for devisive political chatter to an otherwise politically neutral community issue to be debated on the basis of the proposal….not what party you belong to. To deny that it’s a political video is not only wrong but silly. Catherine Walsh has every right to complain about what you’ve done.

    Now…on the positive thanks for chastising our patently annoying Commenter from the hinterlands. I agree with everything you said.

    • Bart Shuldman

      Tom–please give Dan some slack. His ‘story’ explained his intent, and he clearly tried to avoid any concern. Dan works hard with 06880 as he keeps us all informed with what is going on in Westport, even when it is as disingenuous as it was presented in Mr. Steinberg’s video.

      What is good is everyone in Westport can see the deceitful actions by Mr Steinberg. Pointing to the I-95 bridge and speaking to replacing the Cribari bridge with a much bigger bridge insinuates the state will be building something similar.

      Mr Steinberg does not know how to build a ‘bridge’ between the various opinions of the Westport residents. In addition, his votes and actions in Hartford have caused real issues to Westporters and the surrounding communities (he helped to drive GE out of CT). He voted to raise state income taxes on Westporters and he also voted to increase Probate taxes and make them retroactive. Just ask someone whose loved one passed away in 2015 and then a few months later had the state come knocking on their door to collect additional probate fees. Please look into it.

  19. You made my point…instead of talking about the bridge you continue to scourge Mr. Steinberg on other issues. I have no use for him either but wil save my comments for the voting booth.

    • Bart Shuldman

      Tom you are right.

      Westporters should be frustrated, as I am, that Steinberg sits on the transportation committee in Hartford and gets nothing done for Westport (North Ave bridge).

      Raising the Cabrari bridge a few feet, widening it a few feet to stop the accidents, would add to the financial health of our town. Instead Steinberg comes out and using a very deceiving video he protests against productive and value creating change. And uses scare tactics to defend himself.

  20. Oh…on the bridge…I want it lifted three feet…height restricted to disallow large trucks…and repaired and painted.

  21. Elaine Marino

    I didn’t take Mr. Steinberg’s video as suggesting that the “new bridge” will be as high or as large as the I-95 bridge. I understood it mean that the new bridge could accommodate 18-wheel trucks. Does anyone living in Westport want huge trucks through the streets of Saugatuck? I don’t.

    I must admit that I am having a hard time following the bridge controversy. I read many of the 107 posts about the Cribari bridge a few days ago, but gave up at post 55 or so. One post that has caught my attention, and which I would support, was made by Robbie Guimond. I have copied it below:

    “While I understand your passion for the bridge, I don’t get the density thing. All im trying to express is the current height or lack there of. If a restoration is to be done ,Great but set it on piles that are a few feet taller and lets the river work again. its a shame to have so many unused slips and private docks for something as simple as 3 or 4 feet of height. they tried in 89 to improve it but fumbled big time.”

    If our historic bridge can be repaired and retained, and allow us to cherish it for many more years, why would there be opposition to raising the bridge a few feet? I am not asking to be sarcastic or snarky. Why is there opposition to this option? Is it not feasible?

    thanks,

    Elaine

    • I don’t think there is any opposition. I want the bridge restored and the residential character of Westport preserved. The problem with raising the bridge is that ConnDOT has not presented us with that option. Robbie wants the river dredged. I also agree with that. The town administration has that responsibility (with the US Army Corps of Engineers), but again there is nothing in the offing. It’s time for those politicians who want support to make clear, unambiguous statements that they are willing to be held accountable for. There are hundreds perhaps thousands of citizens anxious and waiting for the restoration of the William F Cribari Bridge and a commitment to the importance of the Saugatuck River. Representative Steinberg’s video speaks to this.

      • Best comment so far Werner, thank you!!!!!

      • Elaine Marino

        As I try to move up from the “low information” crowd to the “more informed” crowd regarding this issue, can someone from PreserveWestport explain what the following statement means:

        “Many don’t realize that raising the height of the Bridge is inherently anti-preservation.”

        I found the statement on http://preservewestport.com/media/ in a post describing the recent discussion on this blog initiated by Robbie Guimond.

        Is the “raising the height” objection in reference to:

        A) providing more clearance between the river and the bridge; or
        B) increasing the vertical clearance of the bridge; or
        C) both; or
        D) something else?

        thanks,

        Elaine

  22. Clarissa Moore, Westport Board of Finance

    Dan,
    Thank you for your response, but I think you are being used. I believe you posted Jonathan’s campaign video for altruistic reasons. However, Jonathan asked you to post his video for more selfish reasons. He is running for office and wants free publicity. It is clearly a campaign video as his disclaimer admits, produced by the DTC’s former chair. I look forward to seeing Cathy’s campaign spots on your blog since you seem to have decided to provide a partisan political forum.

    You are right. People could agree or disagree with Jonathan’s “position” IF they could figure out what it is. I recall at one of my final RTM meetings Helen Garten, Morley Boyd & John Suggs presented a plan to save the Cribari Bridge. Steinberg opposed them. Jonathan is adept at talking without actually saying anything. He allows himself so much wiggle room and takes both sides of the issue. Under Steinberg’s scheme, the bridge can be expanded and redesigned beyond recognition while he claims victory.

    Although I share your view that the graphics of the video are terrific, the text is designed to support multiple interpretations and garner votes. Notice that I am trying to give Jonathan the benefit of the doubt by not calling his video misleading and deceitful as other have done.

    Not only are Jonathan’s “positions” ever changing, he seems unwilling or unable to convince his fellow Democrats in Hartford of anything. Other towns have Representatives who fight for their home towns. Westport needs a strong advocate in Hartford, but instead we have Steinberg. So, even IF we accepted Jonathan’s current position, it is doubtful that his support of anything would increase the chance of that measure carrying in Hartford.

    • Thanks, Clarissa, but I don’t know why you think Jonathan asked me to post this video. He did not. I received it in an email from a reader who does not even live in Westport. He thought it was interesting, and I agreed.

      In fact, Jonathan never communicates with me (unless you consider mass emails from his office “communication”). In fact, I’ve been surprised he has not said anything — either privately, or in “06880”s comments section. Readers regular rip him, and he never responds.

      Please tell me why you said he provided the video to me.

      • Jerry MacDaid

        No clue who provided you the video and, frankly, haven’t watched it so have no opinion on it, but the word “surrogate” comes to mind. “Leaks” and “plausible deniability” also come to mind. Tactics used by politicians of all persuasions. There are a few other phrases that I chose not to repeat that also come to mind.

        • Wrong again, conspiracy theorists. The video was sent by someone who lives outside Fairfield County. He’s been following the bridge debate closely, because he’s interested in bridges both historically and from an engineering point of view. He has never lived anywhere near here, though he does have relatives from the area. He was googling info on the bridge, and Steinberg’s video came up. You are giving Steinberg more credit as a political operative (at least in this instance) than he deserves.

  23. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Is it ethical for a town Member of Finance to make political statements here?

  24. nancy wilson

    Dan, I am with you about Nancy Hunter Wilson’s comments. Especially since I live in town and people think that her comments belong to me based on the fact that my son is Hunter. And, I think whatever topics you deem relative to put on 06880 are fantastic and your choice. If she doesn’t like it, let her find another blog to add her 2 cents too. Thanks for all that you do to keep us informed about this wonderful town.

  25. Fun fact: If you have a sailboat and want to go under, you can tie the mast up to the bridge, wait for the falling tide and destep the mast, then run across the bridge with the mast and restep on the other side and continue your trip. Also works with oyster dredges (from experience).

  26. Bart Shuldman

    While we watch as our representative cannot speak to a solution for Westport that seems almost simple, I have to ask how people feel about the potential installation of tolls on CT highways that is being discussed up in Hartford.

    I believe one of our own Board of Finance members (John Hartwell) is supportive of adding tolls as well as the majority party in Hartford. How would this effect congestion on Westport main roads?

    http://www.westportnow.com/index.php?/v2_5/comments/27009/

  27. Kathy Stuart

    This is the clearest demonstration of what needs to be done to keep the historic structure and just repair not replace it!!
    Thank you for the video Rep Steinberg!!

    • If you listen closely, Steinberg seems to advocate a widening of the bridge to make it more user friendly for bike riders and pedestrians. That is the camel’s nose inside the tent. How much wider? While widening the bridge will it be made higher? Sort a stealth replacement effort.