The state Department of Transportation’s announcement of possible work on the Route 136/Route 57 intersection — where Main Street, Weston Road and Easton Road meet in a confusing number of ways — is welcome news.
But it’s not the first plan.
Nor is it the second. Or even the third, fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh.
Former 2nd Selectman Avi Kaner sends along a slew of previous solutions to the confounding confluence. All were prepared by ConnDOT, and discussed with town officials between 2004 and 2006.
Here they are. Click on or hover over each image to enalrge.
One envisioned 3 small roundabouts:
Another showed one large rotary:
Five others involved some combination of road widening, adding turning lanes, and eliminating or modifying the center island:
As the saying goes: Whatever goes around, comes around.
Or, in the case of the roads near Exit 42, whatever goes around may crash into whatever else goes around, unless everyone going around pays close attention.
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.
Westporters might have read recent “06880” posts about the possible reconstruction of the Route 57 bridge near Cobb’s Mill, and not cared. It won’t happen for several years. Besides, it’s Weston.
Well, this news strikes closer to home.
There’s a good possibility the North Avenue bridge over the Merritt Parkway will also need work. Patching, waterproofing, possible full deck repair — all are on tap for the 72-year-old art deco span.
The North Avenue Merritt Parkway bridge.
Because it’s not over water, there are fewer environmental issues — so it will probably come up for work sooner than Route 57.
North Avenue is a major Westport thoroughfare, carrying 2300 vehicles a day. More importantly, it’s an important accessway to 4 schools: Staples, 2 middle schools and Coleytown El.
Construction could take 8 months. Detours would last for 4 of them.
Westporters will have to find another way to get to school.
And Cobb’s Mill.
Saturday’s post on the possible closure of the Route 57 bridge — a main gateway to the newly reopened Cobb’s Mill Inn — did not cause the stir I thought it might.
Maybe Weston’s telegraph operator was off for the weekend.
Here are a few more details, from an engineer who appears to know something:
“Bridge No. 01023” (to use its official state number) has been placed on a list of bridges needing rehabilitation. A study report is being prepared, and engineers are performing a hydraulic analysis.
Construction would start in 5 to 8 years. Many bureaucratic steps remain between today and 2017 (or 2020). Two major ones are funding and priorities.
The engineer stresses that there is no safety concern with the bridge. Routine inspections have identified, however, that it is showing its age. It was built around 1933.
The engineer — thinking ahead — hopes residents will weigh in on the choice between detouring traffic (for an expedited construction schedule) or maintaining traffic (and taking a long time to construct a new bridge).
Route 57 has no viable detour. It is an important route to Georgetown, and a major conduit to Weston center.
In the meantime, the road — and the bridge — to Cobb’s Mill Inn are open. Use them!