The William F. Cribari/Bridge Street Bridge saga rolls on.
The 1st Selectman’s office just sent out this press release:
The state Department of Transportation recently announced the creation of a Project Advisory Committee for input and guidance as the project to rebuild the William F. Cribari Bridge advances.
The first meeting will take place on Wednesday, July 18 (6:30 p.m., Town Hall Auditorium).
According to the DOT:
CTDOT is initiating preliminary engineering work to address structural and functional issues affecting the bridge. As part of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act, an Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Evaluation will be conducted in order to determine the socio-economic and environmental impacts of various design alternatives. The purpose of the EA/EIE is to explore options that accommodate safe vehicular, bicycle, pedestrian, and marine travel, are resilient to the changing shoreline climate and environmental conditions and consider the historic character of the bridge.
Based on the concerns and needs of the community, the Department has identified a group of project stakeholders whose expertise may provide helpful input into a variety of issues, including safety, mobility, environmental concerns, and historic considerations. A Project Advisory Committee is being developed to provide critical input and assist the Department in its decision-making process. Other stakeholders may be identified during the study process and incorporated in the PAC as warranted.
The PAC will meet at key milestones during project development in fulfillment of its role.
Local organizations, businesses and government entities that CT DOT has identified in its initial PAC roster include:
Town of Westport:
- First Selectman
- Fire Department
- Police Department
- Public Works Department
- Conservation Department
- Historic District Commission
- Shellfish Commission
- Boating Advisory Committee
- Downtown Plan Implementation Committee
- Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce
- Westport Preservation Alliance
- Bridgebrook Marina
- All Seasons Marine Works
State and regional entities that have been invited include:
- CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
- CT Commuter Rail Council
- CT Trust for Historic Preservation
- CT Fund for the Environment / Save the Sound
- Federal Highway Administration
- State Historic Preservation Office
- Western CT Council of Governments
The Selectman’s office suggested a number of additional organizations and individuals to be included in the PAC when it was made aware of the formation in late June. To date however, CT DOT did not include those groups in its initial invitation, but noted that other stakeholders may be identified and added to the PAC.
First Selectman Jim Marpe commented, “The creation of this PAC is part of an ongoing environmental assessment that is required due to both the historic nature of the bridge and its location over the Saugatuck River. It should be stressed that this step in the process is not a sign of any intent or decisions regarding the ultimate design or rehabilitation of the bridge. Neither is it a reflection on any conclusions that may be made by the Town to accept the State’s offer to rehabilitate the bridge and turn its ownership over to the Town, as proposed by CT DOT in 2017.”
Marpe continued, “I recognize the Cribari Bridge contributes to the historic character of the Town of Westport and in particular, the Saugatuck community. This will be an important opportunity for the members of the PAC and eventually, the whole community to once again offer its opinions and observations related to the bridge and any environmental impacts that may result from its rebuild or rehabilitation. The meeting on July 18 is open to the public, although CT DOT management has indicated that public input will be limited at this session. It is unclear how much input or level of participation will be accepted from those individuals and organizations not identified as members of the PAC in either this or subsequent meetings that will be organized and conducted by the CT DOT.”
Comments or questions regarding the Environmental Impact Assessment process, the formation of the Project Advisory Committee and the agenda/conduct of the July 18 meeting should be directed to CT DOT’s Project Manager, Priti S. Bhardwaj by email (Priti.Bhardwaj@ct.gov) or phone (860- 594-3311).