Bayberry Bridge projected planned for spring 2021

WESTPORT — The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s plan to undergo a $1.8 million replacement project for the Bayberry Lane Bridge is estimated to start in spring of 2021.

On Thursday, a hearing was held for residents, commuters and business owners to learn about the proposed project. Joe Cancelliere, project manager, said the project was initiated by Westport to address structural and functional deficiencies associated with the bridge.

“The town has applied for and received a grant from the Federal Highway Administration to fund 80 percent of the costs for the project under the federal bridge program,” Cancelliere said.

This comes amid other bridge-related projects in town. On Wednesday, the State Bond Commission approved $20 million for repairs to the Saugatuck River bridge that would address deficiencies and give an extension of train service life of 15 to 20 years.

Cancelliere said due to the condition of Bayberry Bridge, the DOT has conducted inspections every 12 months with the latest inspection on March 5, 2018.

“It indicated the bridge was both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete,” he said, adding it was likely inspected sometime this year as well.

With the Aspectuck River under the bridge, there is potential for erosion which could lead to the collapse of the bridge, he said, and railings are also inadequate.

“Out of a possible 100, this bridge got a sufficiency rating of 35.3,” Cancelliere said. “One hundred is the best condition, zero is a failed condition.”

The plan is to widen the bridge from 22 to 26 feet, which could make it safer to walk. The foundation will be designed deep enough and strong enough to resist erosion, Cancelliere said, and the bridge will also be outfitted with an open-rail system to allow views of the river for drivers.

“These features combined correct all the structural and functional deficiencies of the bridge site, as well as making a safer and more aesthetically pleasing traveling experience,” he said.

Construction is estimated to start in April 2021 and be completed by Nov. 30, 2021. During construction, local traffic will be detoured along Easton Road, Coleytown Road, White Birch Road and back up along Bayberry Lane Extension.

“The detour diverts traffic into the town of Weston,” Cancelliere said, adding his team has alerted Weston officials of the project.

Public Works Director Peter Ratkiewich said the town has coordinated with the bus coordinator for the schools in Westport.

“She has no issue with the detour,” he said. “It looks like a long run, but it’s only a couple of minutes.”

To keep the project’s timeline on course, conservation easements from three properties along the bridge is needed. However, Ratkiewich said this is not permanent.

“Once the construction is over that area will be restored,” he said. “That area is still (residents’) property. The easement goes away after construction of the project.”