The state Department of Transportation today released a draft list of projects, under the 2021-24 Transportation Improvement Program.
Included is $20 million in fiscal 2023 — plus $20 million more in fiscal ’24 — for the “rehabilitation/replacement of state-town Bridge #01349, aka William F. Cribari Memorial Bridge.”
For those who haven’t followed the years-long saga, that’s the 133-year-old swing span over the Saugatuck River. It connects Riverside Avenue and Bridge Street.
All projects on the list must be evaluated for air quality concerns. Because federal funding is also involved, national regulations — as well as state — must be adhered to.
The Cribari Bridge project may not necessarily be placed into the TIP. No decision is likely on the TIP until at least next summer.
First Selectman Jim Marpe said:
The town of Westport has not endorsed any plans for the Cribari Bridge, and awaits a conclusion to the CTDOT Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Evaluation.
As part of the EA/EIE, the DOT established a Project Advisory Committee, and met with this committee several times over the last year. DOT conducted a professional process, and I am confident they have taken away the community’s sentiments and concerns about the Cribari Bridge.
However, the town of Westport neither accepts nor rejects the CTDOT’s budgeted funding of $40 million over the 2 years until it is clear on the specific proposal for the Cribari Bridge, and the community agrees on which solution is the best for the town of Westport.
The Project Advisory Committee reviewed several alternatives for rehabilitation, including a no-build operation, and provided feedback to the DOT. No decision has been made.
The DOT continues to coordinate with other state and federal agencies, as well as various stakeholders, to consider specific concerns, such as impacts on historic properties.
The DOT is expected to issue a preliminary environmental document early next year. There will then be a public hearing and comment period, after which the DOT will make a recommendation of a preferred design alternative. Review by the Federal Highway Administration and state Office of Policy and Management will follow, with a decision announced later.
My staff and I will stay abreast of the air quality and environmental findings for the Cribari Bridge rehabilitation or replacement options. Thereafter, we will follow the development of the TIP closely. I am committed to keeping the residents and businesses of Westport informed in a timely manner about this very important project.