Mystery On The Merritt

Anyone who has visited the Westport Weston Family Y — or zoomed past Exit 41 on the Merritt Parkway — has seen the activity.

Every few days — because you don’t expect highway work to happen consistently — earth movers rumble to life.

They take mounds of dirt, and shift them from here to there. They do the same with boulders. They dig up some spots, flatten others. They look like they’re doing something.

But that sorry stretch of land, hemmed in by the road on one side and a forlorn fence on the other, also always looks the same. What exactly has been done there over the past few months?

Besides making the northbound entrance one of the scariest pieces of roadway in the history of transportation?

(Photo/David Meth)

21 responses to “Mystery On The Merritt

  1. Robert Mitchell

    Damn cool machines, though. Sort of a version of Touch-A-Truck.

  2. Putting in new dirt.

  3. No, the southbound entrance is even scarier!

  4. Marlene H. Powers

    Entering the Merritt at exit 42 southbound is just as scary.There is not enough roadway to meld and I have been almost sideswiped twice.I go out of my way now to enter the Merritt southbound at exit 41.Time consuming yes, but life saving a resounding YES!!! Marlene Powers


  5. Michael Brennecke

    I think it’s a staging area for all the nearby shoulder work. So the fill comes and goes.

  6. How about Exit 43?

    • Hopefully, there will be no Exit 43. The area originally designed for it is total wetlands. Also — it’s in a totally residential area, and is not on a state road.

      • Relax, Bobbie. I’m sure Kevin’s comment was a reference to the 1930s, when influential neighbors in Greenfield Hill successfully stopped the planned Exit 43 — resulting in the 5-mile “No Exit Zone.”

        • I’m very relaxed, Dan. Another reason they never built Exit 43 was that Fairfield First Selectwoman Jacky Durrell lived close by and did what she could to prevent it. She also served as a State Representative for awhile.

          I’m against Exit 43 because it would be on the next road to my house and bring too much traffic to a quiet residential area. Anyway, Exit 44 is only two miles away.

  7. Jonathan McClure

    I commute up the Merritt toward Trumbull/Shelton and the area by exit 41 is indeed the staging area for the all the work being done to the north. On both Northbound and Southbound lanes, they are putting in drainage and replacing the metal guard rails with the standard wooden ones (they may even have widened the road slightly). The dirt and rocks dug up to install the drainage pipes is hauled to the staging area where it’s sifted and brought back as clean fill and grade for the areas completed. When they finish with the right shoulders, they’ll start with the medians. It looks like a long project, but being done overnight for the most part.

  8. Roseann Spengler

    How has this been allowed to go on for so long in Fairfield County? With all of the influencers in our towns, is no one calling for accountability? How is that possible.
    Beyond scary. Shame on the state.

    • Bob Stalling

      If you don’t know what’s going on, or how long it’s supposed to take, then why the call for accountability and the need for shame?
      If they are sifting the soil/separating the rocks (as in the picture), is this something the state should be ashamed of?

    • There’s parts of driving to JKF and to Manhattan that have been getting “worked” on since I moved to CT in the mid-60’s. And no one has bigger influencers than NYC, lol.

  9. Maybe Paul Manafort knows…

  10. Reminds me of the Dick Curless song Tombstone every Mile.

  11. Phillip Perri

    So has anyone actually confirmed that the subject area is just a staging area for highway construction? Is there a plan for something beneficial after this temp use is concluded (although I’ll probably be long dead the way the State gets anything done)? If that is the case then I am saddened by the fact the State clear cut the entire stretch of beautiful old trees and foliage for no better purpose than that. I had thought maybe a rest area or exit improvements, which might have at least mitigated the loss of the buffer. What a waste. Someone please tell me there’s a higher purpose to this eyesore than just convenience for highway construction.

  12. Perhaps solar along the highway….rename the merit parkway to the sustainable highway….