NORWALK, Conn. – Work on Rowayton Avenue at the railroad station will be done by the end of the year, Department of Public Works Director Hal Alvord said. The disruptive action of lowering the roadway will be done over two weekends to minimize the impact on commuters, he said.
The last three or four weeks have been spent getting work done that was supposed to be completed before Norwalk began its part of the years-long project done in conjunction with the state.
The project will lower the hill north of the railroad station by 3 feet to improve the sight lines for drivers. The road north of the bridge will be narrowed from 32 feet to 28 feet. The road south of the bridge will be widened from 26 feet just south of Caroline Court to 28 feet, to make the stretch uniform.
The road alterations are following recommendations worked out between Norwalk’s Department of Public Works and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT). The federal government is paying for 80 percent of the work and the state is paying for 20 percent. The state agreed to widen the bridge on the condition that the city modify the road in the manner described above.
The bridge was rebuilt using thicker steel to support a wider expanse, resulting in less clearance underneath. Lowering the road under the bridge will increase the height clearance from its current 11 feet to 12 feet, 4 inches. It had been 12 feet before the bridge was rebuilt.
Alvord said a tractor-trailer needs 13 feet, so lowering the roadway will not open Rowayton up to tractor trailers.
Asked for an update on the project by Councilman John Igneri (D-District E) last week, Alvord talked about the utilities that go under the bridge.
“The cable, phone, electrical and water all go underneath the bridge,” Alvord said. “Water you would expect to go under the bridge. The cable, telephone and electrical were on poles they came down past Arnold Lane, to the north side of the driveway. Then they go down risers underground to go under the bridge because you can’t have wires over the catenary system.
“When the state did the bridge they were all supposed to lower their utilities so that it wouldn’t have to be done again when we did the roadway,” Alvord said. “They didn’t do that and the state didn’t check them. So what happened is they went down and they hit rock and stopped. So when we started working we found out they didn’t have them low enough. So what’s taken the last three or four weeks is getting them to come in and do it right.”
Now that the utilities are in work is being done on drainage, he said.
Igneri asked if the trench on the eastern side of the road was for lowering the utilities. Alvord said it was. A row of arborvitaes, an evergreen shrub, would be put in along the property immediately to the north of the bridge, he said. DPW will meet with Sixth Taxing District commissioners next week to discuss final landscaping in the area, and residents have been consulted about what they want on their properties, he said.
It’ll be done by the end of the year, he said, except that maybe some of the planting would have to be done next spring.
Also in Rowayton:
• The Sammis Street pump station project is on schedule and is expected to be done by the end of the year, Alvord said.
• The $1 million reconstruction of the Westmere Avenue Bridge will also be done by the end of the year, maybe around Thanksgiving, Alvord said.