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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

CDOT Hopes to Reopen One Lane of North Ave. Bridge Monday

UPDATE The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) is aiming to to reopen Westport’s North Avenue bridge to alternating, one-way traffic on Monday, three days before school starts, First Selectman Jim Marpe announced today.

WestportNow.com Image
The North Avenue Bridge site at 4:15 p.m. today when no one was on the job.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Marpe said Westport officials met Monday with CDOT engineers and received an update on the $2.8 million restoration project, which has lagged behind schedule due to unanticipated deterioration of the bridge structure, he said. It had originally been scheduled to be completed by Monday.

Marpe said he asked CDOT Commissioner James Redeker in letter on Thursday to try to have the bridge open to one lane of traffic by Aug. 24 so school bus drivers have “the opportunity to practice their routes and potentially minimize problems on the first day of classes.”

In a response letter to Marpe on Friday,  Redeker said CDOT and the town have jointly developed a schedule “with a commitment to establish alternating, one-way traffic on North Avenue prior to the start of classes, no later than August 26, 2015.”

“However, our goal is to improve the schedule and restore traffic on August 24, 2015,” he added.

Marpe said he and Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon request that all parents utilize the school bus system for their children’s transport—at least during the first few weeks of school. 

“This will help reduce the traffic volume and allow everyone to traverse this area of town with minimum delays,” he said. 

Marpe said the CDOT commissioner indicated that the contractor would be working nights and weekends to comply with the agreed schedule and the bridge will be closed during those times. 

He also said that the alternating one-way traffic would be in effect for approximately eight weeks with two-week traffic anticipated to be restored by Oct 29.

The renovation of the 1939-built, art deco bridge that handles 1,200 vehicles a day took longer than anticipated due to more degradation than expected that was discovered during its reconstruction, Marpe said.

With one lane open for alternating traffic, police would be stationed there from 6:30 to 9 a.m. and from 2 to 4:30 p.m. to accommodate school traffic,  Dewey Loselle, town operations director, had said earlier.

Marpe thanked Redeker, local state legislators, town engineers, the Board of Education and the Police Department for their rapid responses to the concerns that were raised “when it became obvious that the scheduled repair work would take longer than originally planned.”

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Posted 08/18/15 at 12:57 PM  Permalink



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