Cribari Bridge Closed — Again

For the second time in a couple of weeks, the Cribari Bridge over the Saugatuck River is closed.

Once again, it’s stuck in the open position.

According to alert “0688o” reader — and nearby resident — Robbie Guimond, the last time it happened, a state Department of Transportation foreman said it “just stopped.”

A crew struggled to close it manually. The foreman told Robbie that the back-up apparatus is very old, and seldom used.

The scene on Riverside Avenue. (Photo/Robbie Guimond)

32 responses to “Cribari Bridge Closed — Again

  1. Chris Christie, please call your office.

  2. Michael Mossman

    Is it possible to add bridge closures to the alerts sent out, similar to when Post Rd. is closed or trees are down, etc? The Cribari Bridge is an often used route to the Westport/Saugatuck train station and once again we were blindsided trying to catch a train.

    • I totally agree. This is a major disruption of traffic and during the previous closure it was closed for over an hour before a notice was texted o 888-777. Even if the bridge closes properly, it would be wise to alert of planned closings orior to the event.

  3. Gerald F. Romano, Jr.


  4. Westport needs to improve on their alerting. Some times false alerts, some times errors, some times lacks any good information, some times it makes assumptions that are not correct.

    1. “AVOID Location for the next Timeframe due to traffic incident. Some roads closed. Reply with a friend’s # to forward” Whoops, someone goofed…
    2. “Post Road West is closed from Kings Hwy South to Hill’s Lane (Norwalk Line) in both East and Westbound directions until further notice.” They could have said traffic accident to differentiate from a gas main issue, police/SWAT issue, power lines down, etc.
    3. “AVOID bridge street bridge for the next few hours due to bridge stuck open. ” This is the alert from a few days ago. How do they know it will be a few hours. If I recall, it wasn’t a few hours and was quickly fixed?
    4. “AVOID bridge street for the next few hours due to traffic incident. Some roads closed.” Today’s alert. Lacking information. So the bridge is stuck? Say it. A few hours? Thats quite an assumption. Simply update when its re-opened. “Roads closed” what roads?

    Who is responsible for these alerts? I think they need to be better!

    • FYI I contacted the PD and they have taken my feedback. Hopefully it improves 🙂

  5. and now its back open per the alert 12 minutes after the initial alert. so it wasn’t hours!

    • Werner Liepolt

      12 minutes! That’s a record. It has always taken at least 20 minutes. Kudos to CTDOT; nominate them as candidates for unsung heroes status.

      I agree about the exaggerated messaging. Use it, WPD, when something really bad happens (hopefully never. )

      Another suggestion, please don’t block off the eastern approach to the Cribari Bridge to motorists willing to wait. Viewing the opening of the historic wonder is something many Westporters cherish, and all Westporters-at-heart should see. (And blocking adds to downtown traffic congestion on a not-nearby-as-picturesque bridge.)

      • Werner, I believe Josh’s comment referred to the bridge being opened 12 minutes after he received the alert — not 12 minutes after the bridge was closed. It was (again) closed for longer than that.

        • Werner Liepolt

          So I would have imagined. Do you have an exact time?

          In fact, I got the message, immediately drove from Bridge Street to exit 18, to i95 to exit 17 (no traffic delay for once), got to the Saugatuck Rowing Club in exactly 15 minutes and the Bridge was open.

          Dang I missed that sight when I was on I95. Wish the WPD would’ve let me wait on Bridge Street.

  6. It’s surprising to see so many comments appearing to take this as a matter of levity (Christie , oil can etc ). This is a serious harbinger of bad times to come for our town. The bridge is an example of the crumbling infrastructure which is making traffic unbearable in our town. And meanwhile the preservationists are only concerned about keeping the same bridge forever with no change, even to the point of refusing federal transit funds to seek a solution. Unbelievable

    • Werner Liepolt

      Given that the Cribari Bridge opening today was 8 minutes briefer than the estimated 20 minutes, it’s surprising to me that it’s being treated as a matter deserving hysterical cliche (serious harbinger of bad times… crumbling infrastructure… unbearable, etc.)

  7. Luisa Francoeur

    I agree with the last post. Embrace change and work with it instead of blocking improvements.

  8. Time to say goodbye. The bridge has become more trouble than it is worth..

  9. Evan, Luisa, Les
    I agree it’s time to upgrade…
    Just need to say it louder for the people in the back.

    I like preserving certain historical things but when it comes to bridges, flow of traffic and safety. It’s time to upgrade. Suggestion have the town or state move it to a location downriver similar to Lover’s Leap State Park and a few other retired bridges around the state and NY Putnam Railroad trailway. Use it as an overlook for the river and photography.

  10. Mary Lou Cookman Schmerker

    If you advocate for a replacement bridge you need to carefully consider what type of traffic this would attract to Greens Farms Road. Also to be considered is eminent domain and how much property would be claimed to construct a new bridge. Another consideration is how all of this would impact Saugatuck. I predict all three would be negative.

  11. Thanks

  12. Wendy Crowther

    Based on info posted here, it was the newer, mechanical moving devices that failed to close the bridge. When that equipment failed, the State resorted to using the vintage cranking device to finish the job. Please note that the foreman said, “the backup device is very old and seldom used.” It is true that it is old and seldom used. However, when it was used today, it succeeded when the modern equipment failed.

    • Excellent point Wendy. Going “old school” easily solved the problem when modern equipment failed.

      Westport preserves the Cribari Bridge because it preserves us and our community. A new bridge has to be built to code and allow 18 wheel trucks through our quiet neighborhood streets. No thanks!

  13. David Cleveland

    The Bridge captures the essence of the Saugatuck area. When they electrified it is when it started to fail. I have and many as well driven over the bridge thousands of times without a problem. So every now and then it fails and people think it should be replaced. That would be very sad as it adds so much charm especially during the Christmas season with all the lights on it. It’s a very special Bridge! It should not be replaced with something newer and “better”.

    • Werner Liepolt

      Right now. At this minute. It would take you an hour to get from South Compo to the Cribari Bridge. Not because the bridge is open, but because I95 is shut down.
      Where is the police advisory?

  14. Robbie Guimond

    Interesting perspectives, Great to hear from people like Evan, Les , Luisa, and Wendy Cusick with so many LOUD preservation voices its nice to hear from others who might not chime in otherwise.

    There are some details missing. The bridge failed a few weeks ago because the electric motors just “stopped”. When the crew went to “manual” it also would not allow the span to fully close so they had to scramble electricians and “rig” it to allow traffic through. It was roughly an hour + of disruption. This last failure was a “test” opening in anticipation of escalated use, my guess in prep of the Metro North/saga bridge restore/retrofit about to start. This recent delay was longer then the previous one.

    The idea of tractor trailers coming through has been hashed over and over and no on likes it, and neither do I (we get those trucks daily even without 95 issues because we live next to the bridge) that said the current posted height of 12′ 7″ is going to be changed to 13’7″ even if they do nothing at all, due to the hanging electrical box, as discussed in the meetings. Those trucks are going to be able to cross the bridge very soon legally. I still can’t believe the 1st selectman voted against a town “no thru truck” option like they have in Rowayton.

    The eminent domain question was clearly answered at the meetings. In either scenario a temp bridge was the winner and then a return to existing conditions, with no private land affected, like in the 90’s.

    The old bridge looks cool to some and is an eyesore to others but one thing that’s hard to argue is its ability to disturb the flow when it fails. Obviously with more use and more activity on the River calling it to swing it’s going to happen. I can’t even imagine it failing on a hot summer afternoon for a few hours.

    The idea of repurposing the trusses HAS to be looked at by law so I think preservation efforts could be directed in a thoughtful use/location.

    Once the D.O.T reviews the data and chooses a plan for THEIR bridge it would be smart to put our efforts to ensure a proper span that fits the River and the improving area thus allowing future generations the benefit of smart planning and not just the “lets cling to the past” ideas. Lets face it we will all be long gone and they will say wow what a missed opportunity for a smart carefully thought out improvement for our community.

    • Werner Liepolt

      THEIR bridge? Who pays taxes? Who lives in this town? Who pays the salaries of state employees? Who votes people in or out of office? Whose history does the Bridge represent?

      You can see THEIR efforts in the Stamford RR parking garage (a decade of corruption), the Norwalk Walk Bridge (destroying many local businesses, estimated a more than a billion dollars), the railroad to nowhere, and countless other failed, costly projects that have played a large part in almost bankrupting our state.

    • Werner Liepolt

      Oh and by the way…

      Did you, Robbie, not call for the bridge to open and then not tip the WPD to post the following misleading message:

      “WESTPORT PD: AVOID bridge street for the next few ours due to traffic incident. Some roads closed. Reply with a friend’s # to forward”

      The failure to capitalize a proper noun (Bridge Street) and the misspelled “ours” for “hours”? Is that in character for the WPD?

      Let’s not have local manipulation of information with an intent to cause hysteria and fear?

  15. Robbie Guimond

    THEY own the bridge. Its THIERS.
    Neither of those openings were associated with me and my place.
    What kind of pull do you think I have with the Westport PD???
    You can edit my grammar all you want. It must drive you nuts.

    • Werner Liepolt


      No. Ours.

    • Whether it’s theirs, or even “thiers”, it’s really ours.
      We’re the taxpayers.

    • Robbie I stick by everything I have said from past postings and this current one..I totally agree with you.
      I’ve been over this bridge countless times in my 45 plus years in the area.
      I agreed there was a time to save it up until 10 to 12 years ago when I started noticing the eating away of the metal from wear and tear, weather, salt air, a few fender benders and really needing a new coat of blue paint.
      I enjoys the lights too. I wish they could stay on forever. It’s easier to navigate the bridge with more lighting. The view over the bridge is delightful.
      But it’s time folks. Repurpose the bridge.
      I’m totally blown away why the “No thru trucks” wasn’t approved!
      Tractor tractors really don’t like being in their narrow tight turning areas regardless if a new bridge goes in. If they’re rerouted off I-95 they prefer Rt 1 but that’s tough in certain sections because of the steep hills.
      Werner, I don’t think that was appropriate what you said to Robbie referring to the Westport PD statement. I find it uncalled for and a cheap shot.
      I highly respect all the people on this blog whether you still live in the area or are far away.
      I have spoken up from time to time for Dan W, Robbie and others when I think something was said out of turn.

  16. Mary Anne Liesner

    Replace or fix the old apparatus, please.

  17. Summer Curtis

    Check your source -Robbie is not to be trusted -his opinion does not have an ounce of merit