Merritt Parkway Saugatuck River Bridge Makes “Deficient” List

Once upon a time, traffic moved easily on the Merritt Parkway Saugatuck River bridge. Below, a rope swung delighted youngsters at Camp Mahackeno.

Today, drivers creep — or race — over it. The span between Exits 41 and 42 is lined with construction barriers. It’s one of the scariest parts of the parkway.

The Merritt Parkway Saugatuck River bridge. The Westport Weston Family Y is at lower left. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Now there’s even more reason to fear it.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s has classified it as structurally deficient.

According to the New Haven Register, a bridge is structurally deficient “if the deck (riding surface), the superstructure (supports immediately beneath the driving surface) or the substructure (foundation and supporting posts and piers) are rated in a condition of 4 or less on a scale of 1-10.”

All told, 308 of Connecticut’s 4,270 bridges — 7.2 percent — were classified as structurally deficient. Nationwide, we’re 26th of the 50 states in the percentage of such bridges.

But if you think you can avoid the Merritt Parkway Saugatuck River bridge by taking I-95, think again.

The Yankee Doodle Bridge — the span over the Norwalk River, between Exits 15 and 16 — is ranked as the #1 most deficient in the entire state.

(Click here for the full New Haven Register story. Hat tip: Fred Cantor.)

15 responses to “Merritt Parkway Saugatuck River Bridge Makes “Deficient” List

  1. Peter Hirst

    Sad news. this was one of the more significant landmarks of my child hood. At Camp Mahackeno in the 50’s it held a great rope swing, was a great fishing and swimming spot and much other adventure

  2. Lane Bolton

    I remember vividly when the Mianus River bridge went down. I didn’t think such a thing were possible. I was young then and very naive

  3. Richard Hyman

    They have been working on this bridge (underneath) for at least two years. What have they been doing???

  4. Linda Stein

    Doesn’t anyone learn from previous mistakes? is Putting this information on a list supposed to make us look efficient? How quickly they will work when another Mianus accident happens. Forewarned should be forearmed

  5. This bridge was actually already deemed structurally deficient when the Y first applied to build at Mahackeno (I’ve forgotten the year) because we looked into it back then. I hope they do something about it soon because it’s gotten so bad, driving over the bridge now just about knocks my teeth out of my head and the suspension out of my car.

  6. John D McCarthy

    Tolls now to pay for much-needed infrastructure work.

    • Jack Whittle

      yeah, just like the other transportation taxes were supposedly earmarked for. And you expect the state’s (paltry) net revenues from this new “tax” to be forever dedicated to transportation infrastructure?

      by the way, everything looks just fine under the bridge from a canoe . . .

  7. Mary Cookman Schmerker

    The bridge was a significant part of my youth. We would walk from our Calumet Road house through the woods down to the river’s edge and walk up and down the shore from Lees Dam to the bridge. During an occasional really cold snap we would also ice skate on the river. It is shocking to learn that the I 95 Bridge is structurally insufficient. It is so much newer.

  8. You can see from the photo that it’s buckling. Or was that done deliberately?

  9. Rindy Higgins

    I saw that list and there’s so many more that affect our county; it’s so scary. The Yankee Doodle in Norwalk has been slated for repairs, but held up a bot by us environmentalists who wanted remediation measures so run off wouldn’t land directly into the river below.

  10. Cristina Negrin

    We all remember the tolls, lines and frankly danger that they caused before they were removed. Technology now has them above the traffic and in some cases you don’t even have to slow down. It’s time people we need the tolls to fix the roads and bridges. I 95 is a nightmare most of the day and night because it’s 30 years too late in improvements.

  11. Bart Shuldman

    Isn’t our own state rep on the transportation committee. Too funny. I am sure his desire to tax the people in CT more including adding over 60+ tolls over the highways in CT will solve this problem. NOT.

    CT transportation fund has only enough money to pay all the debt it has accumulated. Pray a road or bridge does not collapse

  12. Sharon Paulsen


    Add this to our plates of anxiety.

    Whatever happened to Trump’s “Infrastructure Week”? (Oh, I mean … weeks).

    Nadda. So, just tax the frack out of the states residents for these “fixes” that should have been addressed, oh, starting perhaps during the Reagan years … and years and … ugh).

    Isn’t it embarrassing, my fellow Americans, to see the infrastructure progress over seas (not everywhere, obvs … but, the tech and engineering exists), and those countries that utilize it are ahead of the game.

    Oh say … can you see … um, how far of a drop is it from up here into that river? 😬

    • Bart Shuldman

      Sharon-this is a huge failure of the political leadership in CT. Nothing more. Nothing less.

      Not a national issue. But a failure at the state.

  13. Wendy Cusick

    I’m not sure if the Dan and the current residents of Westport (and surrounding areas like myself from Norwalk and also Mr Cantor who is on the West Coast soon to come East in the future) that use Hillandale Rd between Church St and Center St (behind Barnes and Noble Plaza) is CLOSED due to a failed bridge that runs over Muddy Brook.
    Just a heads up for everyone.
    I’m wondering if all extra water and run of from all the flash flooding last year in that area that also flooded out US RT 1 at Morningside Drive compromised the bridge and if they’re any others?