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- Pic Of The Day #1523
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Tag Archives: I-95
Westport copes with the coronavirus …
The debate over tolls on Connecticut highways is far from over.
If we ever get them — for all vehicles, trucks only, whatever — they will be the modern, E-ZPass transponder type.
They won’t look anything like the old toll booths that jammed up traffic every few miles on I-95. There was one on the Westport-Norwalk line, just west of Exit 17.
They certainly won’t look anything like the rustic toll booths on the Merritt Parkway.
And they definitely will look nothing like the tollbooth that once stood on the east side of the Post Road bridge, in downtown Westport.
Yes, that really was a thing. The tollbooth was no longer operative, in this 1930s postcard from the collection of Jack Whittle. But at one point — decades (centuries?) earlier — people ponied up to cross the bridge.
Staples High School Senior Prom-goers have already been warned. Now you are too:
Stay away from Stamford on I-95 this weekend, and next.
Replacement of the Post Road bridge over Exit 9 will cause chaos for motorists on that heavily trafficked highway. It will affect all of downtown Stamford, and probably the Merritt Parkway as well.
The project begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 31, at Exit 9. All traffic will be rerouted through local streets. I-95 is expected to be reopened by 5 a.m. Monday, June 3rd. The same schedule is in effect Friday, June 7 through Monday, June 10.
Staples’ prom is affected because it’s at the Stamford Marriott. Many students take party buses and stretch limos to and from the event — vehicles that are not allowed on the Merritt — so transportation could be a major headache.
It will be tough for everyone traveling in Fairfield County that weekend too. But a bridge replacement is a lot better than the Mianus collapse in 1983.
(Hat tip: Bob Mitchell)
The other day, I mentioned how few photos I’ve seen of Saugatuck before I-95 was built. I’ve always had a tough time visualizing what that neighborhood looked like before bulldozers, concrete and pillars.
Alert — and historic-minded — “06880” reader Neil Brickley rode to the rescue. He’s a Staples High School classmate of mine, with an equal fascination for the Westport a few years before our parents arrived.
The photo Neil sent is fascinating. It’s a stupendous aerial view of Saugatuck from 1951 — about 4 years before construction began.
I noticed a few things.
The Arrow Restaurant (most recently Blu Parrot) was not yet built on Charles Street.
Greens Farms Road met South Compo quite a bit further south than it does today.
Most significantly, the area west of Saugatuck Avenue — where land was taken to build the Exit 17 interchange — was much more wooded than I imagined.
Click on or hover over the image above. Explore. Then click “Comments,” to share what you see.
Neil also sent this bonus aerial view: The same area, taken in 1965.
A lot changed in just 14 years.
Which makes me wonder what the Saugatuck of today will look like in 2032.
The ongoing intense, important and interesting discussion about the future of the William F. Cribari Bridge — including effects on spillover traffic from I-95, particularly with tractor-trailers and other large vehicles — got me thinking.
The highway — then called the Connecticut Turnpike — sliced through Saugatuck in the 1950s, devastating that tight-knit, largely Italian neighborhood. Homes and businesses were demolished. Families were uprooted. Entire roads disappeared.
But for the rest of Westport, “the thruway” was a godsend. Post Road traffic had become almost unbearable. Trucks rumbled through day and night. Route 1 was the main — and really the only — direct route between New York and Boston.
I know this only because I have heard stories from people who lived here then. When my parents moved to Westport, the Turnpike was open. It was fresh, modern and new — a symbol of postwar modernity, heralding a very promising future.
What I do not know — and what many “06880” readers would like to hear — is what the Post Road was really like, in the years before I-95.
How bad was it? Did it affect parking, businesses, homes? How did people cope?
If you lived in Westport in the pre-thruway days, let us know. Click “Comments” below. Tell us what you remember. If you’ve got photos, send them along.
And if you’ve got any advice for the town and state, as we grapple once again with the future of Saugatuck, we’d love to hear it.
Why is this morning different from all other mornings?
An accident in Darien — Darien! — caused commuters to abandon I-95 (and the alternate Merritt Parkway route).
Backups spilled all the way to Westport. Jammed-up local streets included the Post Road, Greens Farms Road, Bridge Street, Riverside Avenue, Wilton Road, Coleytown Road, Main Street, even Parker Harding Plaza.
First selectman candidates are welcome to click “Comments” below, and let us know what — if anything — you think can be done to address this near-daily situation.