NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling has asked the Common Council to put off its vote on proposed renovations to Rowayton Avenue until he and other officials meet with the Department of Transportation on the project.
"As the new mayor, I am getting up to speed on various projects around our city and it is important that I have all of the information before making an authorization to proceed,” Rilling said. “After all, once it is done, this will be with us for generations.”
The project would widen and lower an 815-foot section of Rowayton Avenue in and around the railroad bridge near the Rowayton train station. The full scope of the project includes installing retaining walls, sidewalks and curbs and ensuring proper road drainage under the bridge.
The clearance for the railroad bridge is currently posted as 11 feet. Proponents of the reconstruction plan have said the low clearance obstructs oncoming headlights and sightlines, causing potential traffic hazards. But some local resident are concerned that lowering the roadway might bring unwanted traffic to Rowayton Avenue.
"There is concern from Rowayton residents about additional truck traffic with this project and I want to ensure that we are working on the residents' behalf," said state Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk-Darien) in a statement Tuesday. "Let's get it right."
The Department of Public Works sent the project out to bid in the fall. The Public Works Committee voted to move forward a bid of $2.3 million by Norwalk-based M. Rondano Inc. last week.
The Common Council was scheduled to vote on the funding for the project at its meeting Tuesday evening, after approving the design in 2012. Rilling asked that the vote be pushed off the agenda so that he may get more information on the DOT’s plans.
"I want to thank Sen. Duff and Mayor Rilling for listening to the concerns of Rowayton residents,” Councilman John Igneri said. "Ultimately, this may move forward, so it is always helpful to have a dialogue with the state and make sure that we are doing everything possible to protect the character of Rowayton."