Work is imminent on a state Department of Transportation Post Road improvement project.
It includes road widening, the addition of turn lanes and sidewalks — and the removal of up to 100 trees.
From Volvo of Westport to Cumberland Farms — and continuing east to the trees in the median toward New Country Toyota — workers will cut decades-old trees.
The 2 in front of Sakura — the Japanese restaurant whose name means, literally, “cherry blossom” — are also on the chopping block.
One of the trees possibly slated for removal near Sakura.
But a meeting yesterday may have brought those 2 beautiful trees, at least, a reprieve.
State DOT officials planned to meet yesterday in the Sakura parking lot with workers, to coordinate the upcoming project.
Proposed work around Sakura, at the Post Road/Roseville/Hillspoint intersection.
Also there: Westport Town Representative Meeting members Andrew Colabella, Matthew Mandell, Harris Falk, Lou Mall and Don O’Day; Tree Boad members Ed Picard and Dick Stein; Betsy Newman of Earthplace; Sakura owner Nicole Chen, and landowner John Klinga.
And Westport Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich and town engineer Keith Wilberg.
When the DOT crew saw the news cameras, they hesitated. They expected a private site visit, not a public meeting.
The Westport officials agreed to merely listen in to the discussion. Eventually, they talked.
DOT representatives, workers and Westport officials met outside Sakura yesterday. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Colabella)
DOT noted that planning for the project began nearly a decade ago. A public information session was held at Town Hall on July 9, 2019 (and previewed on “06880” — though at that point the project start date was the summer of 2021).
The ongoing, noisy, environmentally gruesome work being done at and around I-95 Exit 17 has many “06880” readers wondering: “WTF?”
Here’s the official word, from the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s “Welcome to the I-95 Norwalk Westport Project” website:
The Connecticut Department of Transportation announced the start of construction for the I-95 Resurfacing and Median Reconstruction Project to begin July 2022. Anticipated end date is November 1, 2024.
The purpose of this important roadway job is to improve driver safety. This will be achieved by;
Reconstruction of the center median and right shoulders along with resurfacing of the highway mainline and ramps at Interchanges 16 and 17.
Median will be reconstructed consistent with other stretches of I-95 to provide a 6-foot-wide capped concrete barrier section.
Wider left and right shoulders where possible.
Improve drainage by replacing and re-routing drainage structures
Replacement of the existing highway illumination system
Install new realigned Incident Management System (IMS)
Install new guide rail
Utilize wet retroreflective pavement markings to provide increased visibility of pavement markings in wet conditions.
Connecticut Department of Transportation I-95 project.
Additionally, several bridges along the corridor will have repairs and specifically, the I-95 over Route 33 (Saugatuck Avenue) will be replaced. A synopsis of the anticipated bridge improvements include:
The bridge reconstruction of I-95 over Saugatuck Ave. (Route 33/136) will be replaced, utilizing an Accelerated Bridge Construction Methods called Lateral Slide, which minimizes the disruption to I-95 commuters.
The I-95 over Franklin Street and I-95 over Saugatuck River bridges will have concrete deck repairs, the replacement of expansion joints and installation of new standpipes
A portion of the structure will be replaced over a weekend, in which 2 lanes of traffic will be provided in each direction.
Proposed landscaping at and around I-95 in Saugatuck. (Click on or hover over to enlarge.)
Other improvements will include the expansion of the Hendricks Ave Park and Ride commuter lot, improved storm water quality treatment, utility relocation, I-95 NB Exit 16 on-ramp extension and the extension of the Yankee Doodle Trail.
Traffic will be maintained at all times during the 6 stages of construction to minimize disruptions to the traveling public.
That’s the official word.
“06880” reader Scott Singer has his own thoughts:
Do you or your sources have any info on who among our elected officials are responsible for monitoring the CT DOT work at Exit 17?
They have thus far removed every possible tree and natural sound/visual boundary, despite their map and plan of maintaining existing trees. It looks like a war zone there.
Exit 17 (Photo/Leslie Ogilvy via Westport Front Porch, Facebook)
For all the worry about Saving Saugatuck and trestle bridge repair, nothing is being done to care for the primary entrance to town.
What is the plan to replant? It’s horrendous there.
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Connecticut’s Department of Transportation begins work next year on several local crosswalks — including the notorious “worst intersection in the state” (Routes 1 and 33, aka Post Road West, Riverside Avenue and Wilton Road).
The DOT will also work on:
Route 33 (Wilton Road) at Merritt Parkway Connector and Spring Hill Road
Route 57 (Weston Road) at Broad Street and Good Hill Road (Weston)
Route 33 (Saugatuck Avenue) at I-95 southbound ramps
Route 1 (Post Road East) at Playhouse Square Shopping Center
Route 1 (Post Road West) at Sylvan Road
Route 1 (Post Road East) at Turkey Hill Roads North and South
Sherwood Island Connector at Greens Farms Road and Post Road East.
The good news: Upgrades include countdown pedestrian indicators, accessible pedestrian push buttons, and “concurrent pedestrian phasing.”
The bad news: There are no actual traffic, sightline or other improvements.
The timetable: Design plans are expected to be completed in February, with advertising for construction in April.
They quickly replied: “Thank you for your inquiry concerning spotted lanternfly. The insect you have photographed is indeed a SLF. Your town is already known to be infested. For tips on dealing with SLF, please click here. Should you find any more insects, please kill them immediately with any means at your disposal. Thank you again for your interest.”
Speaking of the environment: Tickets are on sale now for Earthplace’s famed Woodside Bash fundraiser. It’s October 1 (7 p.m.), under the stars and beside a firepit.
Though it’s adults-only, kids are welcome the following day (October 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), for the also-annual Fall Festival. Earthplace buzzes with a corn pool, obstacle course, climbing wall, food trucks and more. Click here for tickets.
Speaking of posters: Yesterday’s music memories from Woodstock — the “lotta freaks!” festival that ended 53 years ago (!) today — brought an email from longtime Westporter Matt Murray.
Plus this photo:
“This is an original. I worked for the guys who started and funded the concert (Joel Roseman and the late John Roberts). They were partners in the NYC recording studio, Mediasound.
“I was an assistant engineer and gopher (go for this, go for that). Another guy and I saw a stack of these in their office. We asked if we could have a few. Sure!
“Still have ’em, 47 years later.”
Matt adds: “For the studio’s Christmas party, leftover Woodstock tickets were used as bar chits. Being youthful, I used mine for drinks. The bartender tore them in half. A fellow worker thought better of that idea, and hung on to his tickets. Smart person.”
Westporters learn to carefully navigate it. Visitors coming off Merritt Parkway Exit 42 are completely flummoxed by it.
At last — after decades of confusion — the Route 57 (Main Street)/Route 136 (Easton Road and Weston Road) cluster**** may get some improvement.
The state Department of Transportation has designed a plan. They’ll discuss it in a virtual public information program this Thursday (June 9, 7 p.m.), with a presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.
The meeting will be recorded. To access the meeting, provide comments or ask questions, click here (then scroll down to “Live Event Links”).
The plan includes replacing the existing flashing light with a full traffic signal, and widening the road.
The state Department of Transportation plan. Click on or hover over to enlarge.
Right-of-way impacts could include partial land acquisitions and easements.
The project is in the early stages of concept development. No funding or schedule has been identified. The public meeting is to discuss feasibility and solicit feedback.
The state Department of Transportation’s environmental assessment report on the William F. Cribari Bridge will be released next month.
But Deputy Commissioner Mark Rolfe has told 1st Selectman Jim Marpe that its conclusion — and the DOT’s recommendation — is to replace the bridge with a new structure that meets Federal Highway Administration standards.
Many Westporters — fearing traffic on a bigger, new span — have pushed instead for renovation of the 133-year-old structure.
However, Rolfe offered Marpe an alternative: The state could transfer ownership of the bridge to the town of Westport, and re-route Route 136 (Bridge Street and Compo Road South).
The catch: The town would be responsible for operation, maintenance and repair of the Cribari Bridge.
Is that a bridge too far for Westport?
William F. Cribari Bridge: The debate continues. (Photo/Sam Levenson)
Posted onJuly 17, 2020|Comments Off on Roundup: Hot Yoga Closes; Book Donations; Contact Tracing; Commuter Survey; More
Hot Yoga writes:
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we tell you we are closing the doors to Westport (/Fairfield) Hot Yoga. This was a difficult decision that was made very consciously, and for a variety of reasons both in and out of our control.
“For 10 ½ years, we brought you the very best hot yoga that we know how. We also spent this time building an incredibly strong and resilient community of beautiful yogis, of which you are an integral member. This is not goodbye. This is just so long for now.
“We feel very connected to each of you in our own way, and hope we can continue to grow and develop these relationships with you, although it will not be at 877 Post Road East. With everlasting grace and gratitude — Rich, Abbey and Yogi.””
There’s a (relatively) new liquor store. An established (and much beloved) donut shop. Across the street will be a (very) new restaurant.
And — in mid-September — Outpost Pizza establishes an outpost at the site of a former dry cleaners, near Coffee An’, The Grapevine, and the new spot soon to replace 323.
Outpost has a great reputation in Stamford. Their prices are good. They’ll be welcomed to the neighborhood, for sure.
Westport Library Book Sales has been “overwhelmed by the generosity of our community.”
They resumed collections yesterday at 9 a.m. By 2 p.m. the shed was full.
Donations must be quarantined for 3 days, so no more can be accepted now. Donations resume next Thursday.
The Westport Weston Health District says: Be aware of scammers posing as COVID-19 contact tracers!
Impostors claim to work for “the sheriff’s office” or local health department. They say they need to load “contact tracing software” onto a victim’s computer.
Do not fall for these scammers. Official contact tracers working on behalf of the WWHD or state Department of Public Health will never ask to enter your home, threaten you with a fine, or ask you for personal financial information. Anyone asking for such information is trying to steal your identity, money or both.
If someone asks to enter your home for “contact tracing,” call the police immediately. Do not let strangers into your home.
Other things to be alert for if you receive a call:
Do not pay a contact tracer. Anyone who says you must pay is a scammer.
Do not give out your Social Security number or financial information. There is no reason why a legitimate tracer would need these.
Do not share your immigration status. Legitimate contact tracers do not need, and will not ask for, this information.
Do not download anything onto your computer. Real contact tracers will not ask you to download any software on your computer.
Contact tracing is an important component of public health, and an essential tool to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Connecticut’s contact tracing initiative is completely voluntary. There is no cost to participate. If you do participate, you may elect to receive daily health assessment reminders via text, email or phone. You will be reminded to do a simple assessment of your symptoms each day.
All information is strictly confidential. Contacts who are identified will not be given information on cases (such as the name of the person who may have exposed them).
The state Department of Transportation is conducting a brief survey about commuting during COVID-19. Answers will help the agency plan funding for future projects.
If you were or are a commuter, click here to take the survey.
MoCA Westport invites all Fairfield County teenagers interested in the arts to join its new Teen Council.
The Council will connect the museum with area youth through events, exhibitions, performances and educational programming. Teen Council members will develop strong relationships with prominent artists and community leaders as they explore their personal creativity.
Teen Council members will enjoy behind-the-scenes access to MoCA Westport — and free memberships.
Many Westporters have no idea what goes on at 900 Post Road East. The lot next to Walgreens, across from the Sherwood Diner, is filled with trucks and mounds of sand.
In fact, it’s a maintenance lot for the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
At least, it is now.
Sometime in the future though, it could be the site of new townhouses. Eighty or 90% could be “affordable” — under state 8-30g standards — while the rest would sell or rent at market rates.
As first reported by the Westport News, town officials — including 1st Selectman Jim Marpe and the Planning & Zoning Commission — are in very preliminary discussions with the state. The complex would be built on 4 of the 10.73 acres, along West Parish Road.
900 Post Road East
Early indications are that some nearby residents favor the move. They prefer townhouses to trucks in their back yards.
Others, however, oppose more development in the Greens Farms/Post Road area. New housing — some affordable, others for seniors, most at market rate — has gone up recently near Greens Farms Elementary School, and the foot of Long Lots Road.
Affordable housing is mandated by the state. It is not optional. In Westport, that translates to people earning just under $80,000 a year, says P&Z chair Danielle Dobin. That includes teachers, firefighters, police officers, other town employees, young people and seniors.
The P&Z’s Affordable Housing sub-committee meets today (Friday, January 10, 12 noon, Westport Town Hall Room 201). It’s the first of many meetings about this proposal.
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:
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