NORWALK, Conn. -- Hoping to lessen the impact of a huge railroad bridge project in Norwalk – or at least to help the public understand it – the state has set up a website to keep folks current on meeting notices and other important aspects of the project.
The Department of Transportation plans to replace the 120-year-old Walk Bridge, which carries four tracks of the New Haven commuter rail line over the Norwalk River.
In the hopes of minimizing disruptions to traffic and businesses, the state set up a website -- www.walkbridgect.com – that will give the public real-time information in order to navigate what is bound to be an aggravating – but necessary -- period of construction.
The structure, which swings open to accommodate commercial and recreational marine traffic on the river, frequently gets stuck, the state said. When that happens, it causes major rail service disruptions in the Northeast corridor.
The Walk Bridge is critical to intercity and high-speed passenger rail service by Metro-North Railroad and Amtrak, as well as freight rail service by CSX and Providence and Worcester Railroad, the state said.
Approximately 200 trains and 125,000 passengers travel across the bridge daily. Ridership is projected to double by 2065, said state officials, who estimate it will cost between $465 million and $600 million to replace the 560-foot span.
While the actual replacement doesn't begin until 2018 – the project may last three to five years – the state first must complete three advance projects, such as repairing pier fenders, fixing track sidings at the dock yard and building a new track interlocking system.
Once the project really gets rolling, the tracks will be reduced from four to two.
Building a bridge in the highly developed commercial and residential area of historic South Norwalk presents unique challenges, the state said.
Officials already have been gathering input from local officials and key stakeholders and will continue to coordinate things as the project advances.
The state Department of Transportation plans to open a local office, where the public can pop in for more information.
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