NORWALK, Conn. – Work has begun on a major overhaul of the Norwalk's southernmost part of Interstate 95, but what about parts north? Not likely, says state Sen. Bob Duff.
A spring 2009 driving survey cited Norwalk exits 16 to 14 as among the slowest stretches of I-95. The stretch between exits 15 and 17 south proved to be especially problematic last week, with a seven-car pileup one day and an hourlong backup at Exit 16 another.
The seven-car chaos began at 8:15 p.m. Sept. 16 when a New York driver heading south in a 2011 Ford Escalade rear-ended a 2012 Audi stopped in traffic, Connecticut State Police said. The Escalade driver swerved into the center lane, striking a Honda Odyssey, which was then rear-ended by another car. That vehicle fled the scene.
Meanwhile, a 2007 Nissan Maxima driven by a New Jersey man stopped behind the Audi. He was rear-ended by a 1997 Honda Accord driven by a Bethany woman. The Maxima hit the Audi, which hit a Lincoln Town Car registered to Post Road Limousine in Fairfield.
Ten people went to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Deputy Fire Chief Ed Prescott said, adding that most were taken for precautionary reasons. People were everywhere — a family parked on the exit ramp and was tending to relatives.
The Tuesday deluge that caused temporary ponding on many Norwalk roads also flooded I-95 under East Avenue, causing a milelong backup. A catch basin that became clogged with debris was blamed for the problem.
"It's probably not the best design," Duff said of I-95 between exits 15 and 17, adding in an email, "We cannot close down an important highway during heavy rains. It is important to make priorities and then fight for the funding."
Although the state is spending $42 million to add a lane between exits 15 and 14 and make other improvements, there's not much hope for overhauling the tough stretch to the north. Getting the money to study the roadway, design the improvements and pay for construction would be tough, Duff said.
Duff also offered a temporary solution to navigating the difficult stretch: "Motorists need to slow down and need to be more aware of what's happening in that area."