Traffic survey means Bridge Street bridge study will span more time
The state’s study of what to do with the “severely deficient” Bridge Street bridge will take longer than the six-month period initially announced in order to include an analysis of traffic on area streets.
The state’s rehabilitation study of the span — formally, the William F. Cribari Memorial Bridge — now is not expected to be completed for public review until mid-April, according to First Selectman Jim Marpe.
The state Department of Transportation’s traffic survey will include streets in the areas of state Routes 1, 33 and 136, the latter of which is carried over the Saugatuck River by the historic swing bridge.
The DOT wants the traffic analysis “to provide comprehensive and detailed information relative to the feasibility of potential bridge rehabilitation options,” according to the announcement.
Among the problems that prompted the state to study whether to repair or replace the bridge include: the span is severely deficient structurally; it is substantially functionally obsolete — performance based on geometry, approach, narrowness, and it poses major traffic safety problems.
In announcing the lengthier study period, Marpe said, “I appreciate that the DOT is taking the additional time and making the necessary expenditures to expand the examination of the rehabilitation options for the bridge. I view the addition of a traffic study as a very positive development.
“From the start of this process, I have urged the DOT to fully consider not only improving the bridge structure itself, but also the ingress and egress of the bridge traffic on Saugatuck,” he added. “We expect that improved traffic flow recommendations and considerations for pedestrian safety will be included in the final report.”
In recognition of the outcry that has already erupted in opposition to replacing the bridge, the first selectman reiterated, “I am very sensitive to the historic aspects of this iconic bridge and its significance to many Westporters. I will continue to encourage the State to develop recommendations that balance long-term safety improvements with the need to preserve an important part of Westport’s history.”