Some time in the next few weeks, East Avenue will be fully shut down on either side of the train bridge to install a special temporary earth retaining system, including large steel beams, that will be used to keep the bridge in place while utility work is done.
This work is a part of the state’s Walk Bridge Project, a $1 billion replacement project that replaces the 125-year old bridge across the Norwalk River, and numerous other bridges, utility lines, and projects along the line.
Right now, the state Department of Transportation, ConnDOT, has been closing the roadway fully on weekends, but said that a full week’s shutdown will help speed up this project by installing the system all at once. Doing a full shutdown now will “minimize potential closures during summer months…increase the amount of work completed during off-peak winter months…and increase safety to workers and passenger vehicles.”
The city’s Traffic Authority approved the closure, which would run slightly longer than a week, starting on a Friday night and ending the following Monday morning about 9 days later. However, the project must start by March 11th or the state has to come back to the city to do the closure.
While the contractor for the project said it could start the work on Feb. 25th, ConnDOT asked for a bit more time to do a “full public outreach” to businesses and residents in the area. That would have the closure start on either March 4th or March 11th.
“The later we get into March, the less the likelihood is that we’re going to be able to extend and keep that closed,” said Mayor Harry Rilling. “We’re getting into April and May—that’s going to be extremely problematic.”