For travelers along the Merritt Parkway, they might notice that the exits and entrance ramps in Norwalk are a bit incomplete. For example, travelers can use Route 7 to get to the Merritt Parkway south heading to New York, but not north. This often causes traffic issues on Main Avenue, which has access to the Merritt Parkway in both directions, according to state officials.
That’s why the state launched the 7/15 Norwalk Project in an effort to “provide the missing connections between Route 7 and Route 15 (Merritt Parkway),” and “improve mobility and safety at the Main Avenue and Route 7 interchanges on the Merritt Parkway.”
The rough timeline for the project would have the state working on designs and permitting through 2024, with construction potentially starting in 2025.
This project has been in the works for years; it was first proposed in the late 1990s, but was stopped by a lawsuit in 2005. Since 2016, the state has been working on data collection and analysis that went into an environmental impact study and reviewing multiple construction alternatives. The report is now published and there will be a public hearing at Norwalk City Hall on Wednesday, August 16 at 6 p.m.
A Look at the Proposal
According to the report, the state is proposing moving forward with “Alternative 26,” which officials said “best meets the project’s purpose and need.” This proposal “is anticipated to improve traffic operations and address safety issues at the Route 15/ Main Avenue interchange. Regarding the Merritt Parkway, Alternative 26 leaves a more compact footprint, enhances natural features, reduces maintenance, and provides fewer structures.”
This alternative would:
- Add two signalized intersections on Route 7 to provide connections at Interchange 39 between Route 7, Route 15, and Main Avenue
- Replace the two historic bridges over Main Avenue
- Add two new traffic signals to Main Avenue for “a total of three-closely spaced signalized intersections”
- Eliminate the four existing tight-loop ramps at Interchange 40
- Enable connections between Route 7 and the Merritt Parkway in all directions
- Add wider sidewalks and space for turn lanes to make it safer along Main Avenue
The goal of the proposal 7 is to “reduce congestion,” and make the entrances/exit ramps safer as the “existing Main Avenue and Route 15 Interchange ramps have substandard acceleration and deceleration lanes, steep changes in grade, sharp curves, and limited sight distance. These factors contribute to a high number of crashes.”
According to the CTDOT study “the highest density of crashes along the entire Merritt Parkway corridor occurs at the Exit 40 interchange with Main Avenue. It is the only location which has more than 300 crashes within a 0.5-mile segment within the four-year analysis period.”
This proposed alternative would cost about $109 million, according to CTDOT.
Residents can view the entire study and learn more about the August 16 public hearing at 7-15norwalk.com