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State Gets Town’s Scenic Road Application

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced today the receipt by the state’s Scenic Road Advisory Committee of a Westport scenic road application for a 1.2-mile portion of Route 136—from Compo Road South to Bridge Street and over the Bridge Street Bridge to Riverside Avenue.

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CDOT sets Jan. 21 hearing for Westport application. File photo

The CDOT also said that it has scheduled a public forum to discuss the application on Thursday, Jan. 21, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Ave.

According to the CDOT, in order to qualify for scenic road designation, a state road must have a minimum length of one mile and have significant natural or cultural features along its borders, such as agricultural land or a historic building or a structure which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the State Register of Historic Places.

Or, it must afford vistas of marshes, shoreline, forests with mature trees or notable geologic or other natural features ,which singly or in combination, set the highway apart from other highways as being distinct.

Westport proponents of the scenic road designation are Selectwoman Helen Garten, Representative Town Meeting (RTM) member John Suggs and preservationists Morley Boyd and Wendy Crowther.

Their move was designed to safeguard the historic Bridge Street Bridge also known as the William F. Cribari Memorial Bridge, which the CDOT plans to renovate.

The 1884-built structure is Connecticut’s oldest, surviving, moveable, hand-cranked swing bridge that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The state is currently studying restoration plans for the bridge, which has fallen into disrepair. Many residents want the state’s renovation plans to respect the bridge’s historical significance to Westport.

According to the CDOT,  a scenic road designation means that any future alteration or improvement to the roadway must preserve its scenic qualities.

Those wishing to comment on this application may do so in writing no later than Friday, Jan. 29, CDOT officials said.

All correspondence should be mailed or delivered to Colleen Kissane, chairperson, Scenic Road Advisory Committee, Connecticut Department of Transportation, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, and P.O. Box 317546, Newington CT 06131-7546.

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