Cribari Bridge Disappears

Werner Liepolt — an alert “06880 reader/William F. Cribari Bridge neighbor/member of the Connecticut Department of Transportation Project Advisory Committee for a new, rehabilitated or (long shot) basically unchanged span — read with interest yesterday’s post about $40 million in possible funding for the project.

Then he noted with equal interest that the DOT has pulled (“temporarily?” he wonders) the Cribari Bridge project from its web page. (Click here for the error message.)

However, he does have 2 public documents — sent to Advisory Committee members — showing plans for the “restored” bridge. Here they are. Click on, or hover over to enlarge:

32 responses to “Cribari Bridge Disappears

  1. Just to clarify, the two images are meant to show the EXISTING span (in light grey) superimposed upon the PROPOSED span which the Dept. of Transportation wishes to replace it with (dark grey).

    • Werner Liepolt

      Sorta like the bridge we have now is the guppy; the one CTDOT wants is the conceptual whale swallowing it.

      • [gulp]

        • Wendy Crowthyer

          And that whale has a big appetite – it loves 18-wheelers.

          • Mary Lou Cookman Schmerker

            When I saw this post before anyone else had commented I gulped and sighed. My thought was, there is no way this bridge could be entered or exited without major modifications to the existing road way on either side of the river. Everyone needs to think about the possibility of eminent domain coming into play.

            • Robbbie Guimond

              Absolutely not on the table , d.o.t has made it clear the ONLY adjustment would be to lengthen the right turn lane on the west side of the bridge… that plan will happen in any configuration .

  2. 18 wheelers are not going to want to navigate this bridge (when it gets renovated or replaced with a new deck) or the narrow roads in this residential area

    • Robbie Guimond

      The town representatives at the Pac meeting discussed the no truck ban on Greenes farms rd. they do not need any approval other then there own. this solves the 18 wheel issue immediately .

      • Wendy Cusick

        Good to hear. Thank you

        • To briefly clarify, a No Thru Truck Ban requires the Local Traffic Authority (LTA) to appeal to the Office of the State Traffic Authority (OSTA). An investigation of roadway geometry then follows to determine if the route in question is indeed a thru truck route and if it, as such, presents a danger to residents. All impacted towns must agree with the subsequent recommendation. Ironically, by replacing the extant span with one open to “all legal loads” one may unwittingly tip the table towards a finding that no hazard exists. If no hazard exists, the ban would not be enacted.

          Moreover, it would be hard to see how the (nearly bankrupt) State of Connecticut would permit DOT to burn up 42 million dollars on a monster new span only to stand by without comment as another state agency essentially countermands the endeavor.

          There is a such a thing as a “weight limited road” which, under certain circumstances, is enacted by ordinance for local roads. However, the language of same expressly forbids such an ordinance where it might be a No Thru Truck Ban by another name and thus interfere with commerce. Further, the weight limited road ordinance must name a reasonable alternate route.

          • Robbie Guimond

            Did you not hear the first selectman and others in the meetings suggest that a town owned road truck ban was a easy and viable option? westport pd was in favor as well.
            When the height is returned to 13.8. what should the town do to stop the “unlikely” new flow of trucks that will be able legally to come over the bridge? In all seriousness id like to understand where you are on the 13.8 and GF ban.

            • I’m aware of the discussions you reference although I’m not sure I would characterize them as substantive. What I believe you may have missed is the subsequent BoS meeting in which this was considered. And rejected.

              • Robbie Guimond

                First selectman Jim Marpe rejected the no thru truck ban? WOW… Whats your thoughts on the inevitable 13.8 posted height ?

                • I know. Almost didn’t want to tell you. For better or worse, very little is inevitable, is it? I suppose we disagree on a few things, but I admire your passion.

    • @Wendy how do you know 18 wheelers wont want to use it or just end up using it? If its available to them there is trucking software that will route them over it if it makes sense. Much like we use Google Maps and Waze. Time is money. Also, lets be real that we see trucks hit the RR and other bridges and get stuck in other precarious positions requiring huge wreckers to come yank them out. All that said, I strongly oppose truck thru traffic in Saugatuck – it would pose major safety concerns.

      • Robbie Guimond

        Josh your point is valid but I have to agree with Wendy. Most full length 53′ +/- OTR trucks use a truck app that will not send them down narrow roads, I have that in a Garmin truck gps and I add my vehicle dimensions and it routes me to RT1 even thou the right on to post rd is horrible its the best option according to the truck gps. Now that the D.O.T has clearly confirmed the current height will be returned to 13.8 all the shorter although similar in height trucks will continue to use the bridge. a no thru truck ban is a great option. at least for the east side. west side gets no concern.

        • Wendy Cusick

          Josh I understand what you’re saying but have you ever driven a large truck or watch how they maneuver and drive? Robbie drives large trucks and cranes so I know he understands.
          My grandfather was a truck driver in New York (Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan). He had truck maps long before technology was available. I was taught to be aware of your surroundings at all times. I have also driven large box trucks. You have to be aware of your height and how long you are so you stay in your lane as you turn and not run over the curb, sidewalk or worse hit a pole or parked car.
          Truck drivers do not like navigating narrow roads and doing deliveries where they have narrow truck lanes. They will avoid Bridge St area unless they have to make a delivery.
          They have to swing out into opposing lanes with the cab and trailer and basically do a controlled ‘jack knife’ to “thread the needle’ into the street or business they’re turning into and make sure that trailer comes with them. The streets of Bridge St, Riverside Ave, Charles St, Franklin, Ketchum, Railroad Place and Imperial Ave are nightmares for truckers.

          The issue with the Saugatuck underpass is that no one is paying attention and not knowing the height of their vehicle. It has nothing to do with technology since I’ve seen this bridge hit since the early ’70s. Also as Dan W as mentioned in the past possible still in ‘highway mode’ and they take a quick right turn (boom). Seriously, the state should have put an arch with chains hanging down right after they built I-95 a lot damaged could have been avoided.

      • Werner Liepolt

        Whenever there is an I-95 shut down trucks of all sizes pass my house on Bridge Street to use the Cribari Bridge. During severe I-95 shutdowns, such as that caused last winter by the skyrocketing sewage tanker, we often hear–during the hours’ long delays– the warning beeps of too tall trucks backing up (with police assistance) so they can take Imperial Ave to the Post Road.

        I have frequently seen dumpster trucks and tractor trailers need to take two or three runs forward and back to make the turn at the Treadwell intersection.

        I imagine a CTDOT goal might be to straighten and streamline those trouble spots.

        • Wendy Cusick

          Werner, I was thinking only going northbound (east). I didn’t about truckers trying to navigate the bridge and streets going southbound (west) at night! Why would want to try new unfamiliar roads in the dark is beyond me.
          Personally, those truckers think ignoring the truck maps (apps) they can out smart everyone and get around the bumper to bumper traffic on Rt 1 by taking these roads. Until they find out the hard way when they get boxed in at Bridge St and Imperial Ave and need police help. They learned their lesson the hard way.

          • Werner Liepolt

            I can’t speculate about their reasoning or navigation tools. My almost DAILY experience as a resident of Bridge St is that many large trucks both local and interstate use Greens Farms Road and Bridge as an I-95 alternative. And when there is an accident or delay my street both north and south bound, cars and trucks, can be stop and go for hours.

            By the way, the project website has reappeared


            There is a lot of information there, but one striking thing is the CTDOT offered $40 million dollars. That’s the cost of the total replacement with no attempt to restore or refurbish.

            And my notes (I have cross checked with the Saugatuck Rowing Club representative) indicate lengthy river closures for the replacement options.

            • Robbie Guimond

              Mis-information Werner , please stop it, no river closings , maybe a day or two off season while cranes have dangerous picks and even those are unlikely to affect the rowers, my clients or any other river users. These will be needed in a resorption OR replacement option (if at all). The 20m restoration option lasts 25 years max then will need a complete replacement compared to the 40m replacement option which is a 75 to 100 year life span with less down time that a restoration will most certainly need for things like replacing the electrical after a expected storm surge. That cost 6m+ after sandy and major closures sadly its at the same level now which is very vulnerable. Stick to the facts… (this is where you attack me personally smdh)

              • Werner Liepolt

                Three other Public Advisory Committee members confirm that the engineers said the river would be closed for at least three months with the two replacement options. Sometimes you hear what you want hear.

                • Robbie Guimond

                  Again you must not of heard the D.O.T rep when the rowing club asked that very question. Might I add it was asked a few times at meetings, each time it was made clear the river would not be obstructed, Period!

                  Im sure you won’t answer this but which pac members confirmed your misinformation?

                  I also find your concern about marine travel on the river interesting seeing as you suggest north of the bridge should be only used by human powered craft. . IT’S a federal navigable waterway! the cg will not permit any obstruction let alone long term.

                  if you want to join, im meeting with both the pd , cg, dot and mta this month for a conversation about this very thing, River traffic and ANY impediment especially the RR and bridge street bridge. its time we recognize this asset for what it is and what it can be.

  3. Robbie Guimond

    Just ONE of many concepts. No descion or design has been confirmed. stick to the facts please… misinformation does nothing but upset people.

    • Werner Liepolt

      You posted this yourself in an earlier post.

      CTDOT has removed (temporarily?) the project web page so no one can review the other two concepts (both of which totally replace the historic bridge and close river traffic for an estimated three months. )

      • Robbie Guimond

        Werner , you must be mistaken, and when did the dot say they were closing the river to boat traffic ? Again stick to the facts please.

  4. I wonder how a new bridge will open for boats. The present bridge is opened manually. They’ll need a different system for anything bigger.

    • Werner Liepolt

      The Cribari Bridge has been opening electrically for more than thirty years.

      • Peter Barlow

        I guess thirty years ago (or more) is what I remember – being on a boat and seeing a sign saying “To open bridge telephone …” and wondering where is there a phone.

  5. If you’d like to be kept appraised of the status of the historic Cribari Bridge, particularly if you’re interested in seeing it conserved rather than replaced with a larger, truck-enabling span, click on the link below. The Westport Preservation Alliance provides a full history of the bridge, documents the challenges it faces today, and provides a way for you to sign up for future email notifications.


  6. Phil Bancroft

    Install chicanes on GF Road to make it impassable by tractor trailer trucks. I don’t think it’s a state road.