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:
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.
One view of the William Cribari Bridge … (Photo/Patricia McMahon)
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.
… and another. (Photo/Katherine Bruan)
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.
On July 8, representatives from Connecticut’s Department of Transportation gave a public presentation on proposed work on the Post Road. Much of it involves the stretch between Fresh Market, and the Roseville/Hillspoint Road intersection.
The $5.3 million project (80% federally funded, 20% state funds) would include special left-turn-only lanes, as well as traffic signals, curbing, curb ramps, sidewalks and crosswalks.
Proposals for the Post Road near Fresh Market.
Alert “06880” reader Jennifer Johnson agrees with many of the ideas. However, she also has concerns. She wrote the DOT about several, including the need for a sidewalk on the south side from Mitchells to the fire station, and care of the cherry trees in front of the Volvo dealer.
However, what really caught my eye was this:
Eliminate multiple single-property curb cuts. There are an excessive number of curb cuts (17) on both sides of the road, from the traffic light at Fresh Market to the light at Roseville/Hillspoint Road.
The number of curb cuts is a source of danger to people regardless of how they travel (foot, car or bicycle). Now is the time to correct problems that have evolved as the Post Road developed.
There are many ways in and out of the shopping centers, and adjacent lots.
I never thought about that — but now that I have, it makes a lot of sense.
Why do we need so many entrances and exits at Fresh Market? Across the street, there are also a number of ways to get into and out of the Dunkin’ Donuts/UPS Store/Westport Hardware/Mumbai Times lot. (No one ever calls it by its official no-meaning name, Village Center.)
There are other spots in town too with multiple entrances and exits, like Stop & Shop, and Aux Delices/Carvel/Stiles.
There are only a couple of ways in and out of the CVS/Trader Joe’s clusterf***. But at the end of her email, Jennifer notes that this intersection appears to have been ignored by DOT.
Finally, she asks that one person be appointed to oversee and coordinate all of DOT’s Westport projects (there are others besides the Fresh Market initiative).
Great idea! I nominate Jennifer Johnson for the job.
(For full details of the project on the Westport town website, click here. Questions about the Post Road project can be sent to the CT DOT project manager: Brian.Natwick@ct.com)
Proposed work at the Post Road/Roseville/Hillspoint intersection.
Construction work on the Merritt Parkway — from before Exit 41 to beyond Exit 42 — has been going on, it seems since dinosaurs and Studebakers roamed the earth.
The $56 million project includes upgrades to pavement, guardrails and drainage, and restoration of “historic concrete.”
It’s bad enough for drivers (who must navigate frighteningly tight concrete barriers, including on- and off-ramps) and residents (who have endured noise, dust and the destruction of acres of woodlands).
Concrete barriers and no shoulders make driving on the Merritt Parkway a life-in-your-hands experience. (Photo/Bob Mitchell)
But right now, work seems stalled. What’s happening? When will it resume? And how long will it take?
I asked Jonathan Steinberg, Westport’s state representative. He sits on the Transportation Committee, and lives not far from the endless mess.
A Department of Transportation representative told him that right now, there’s a restriction: Work cannot proceed after 11 p.m.
Because of that, the contractor — Manafort Brothers — has stopped work altogether. They say that with just a 3 1/2-hour night window, the project is not feasible. (Work cannot begin until 7:30 p.m., after rush hour.)
“It’s a tough spot,” the DOT rep wrote to Steinberg. “Everybody bought houses there due to the woodland setting and close proximity to a major travel way. The Parkway is over 75 years old and a project of the magnitude may come only once every 30 years. It’s safer if we cut the rock back for all of the travelers.”
However, the DOT official continued, “I agree that the noise we are making now is probably the worst, and this is only Southbound there is another opposite in the Northbound shoulder.”
DOT is “looking at various options that include reducing the amount of rock removed and beefing up the guide rail. Compensating the Contractor for his lost production. Utilizing day time lane closures. Allowing full shift work but on limited nights.”
However, he concluded — ominously for all — “as of today we do not have a solution.”
Click here to help support “06880” via credit card or PayPal. Any amount is welcome — and appreciated! Reader contributions keep this blog going. (Alternate methods: Please send a check to: Dan Woog, 301 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880. Or use Venmo: @DanWoog06880. Or Zelle: email@example.com. Thanks!)