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Norwalk Council eyeing $359K for East Avenue widening

east ave

Norwalk’s East Avenue, as shown by Google maps.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk is looking at spending $359,000 on the East Avenue widening project.

The Common Council Public Works Committee is scheduled to discuss the matter at its Tuesday meeting. The money would go for professional engineering services between the city and A. Dicesare Associates, P.C., according to the meeting’s agenda. There is no mention in the agenda of where the money would come from, whether from an existing account or from the capital budget.

Public Works Committee Chairman John Igneri (D-District E) did not respond to a Friday email asking about the proposed contract.

The plans for the project were first discussed with the public in 2009. The work is being expedited as part of the replacement of the Walk Bridge, the railroad bridge over the Norwalk River, officials have said.

“The replacement of this bridge requires extensive preparatory measures, such as the construction of a ‘new’ controlled interlocking for train tracks, re­routing of traction power, railroad signal and communication systems to maintain train traffic during the reconstruction effort, realignment of train tracks to accommodate the ‘new’ movable structure, reconstruction of retaining walls either side of the river crossing and the reconstruction the railroad bridges crossing Fort Point Street, Osborne Avenue and East Avenue in East Norwalk,” A. Dicesare Associates states in a scope-of-services memorandum included in the Public Works Committee packet.

The roadway improvements design documents are 60 percent complete; the money would go toward completing the design and submitting the final documents in accordance with the “aggressive” time schedule, A. Dicesare Associates states. Work would be completed over the course of 2016.

The project’s scope is being changed to make its northern limit Myrtle Street instead of Olmstead Place and its southern limit Van Zant Street instead of Raymond Street, the company states. Department of Public Works Director Bruce Chimento said recently that making the project area smaller would allow the state to spend more of its money on bike lanes under the bridge and beautification of the streetscape.

Where will the money for Dicesare go? Well, for one thing, a new traffic study to facilitate re-timing and synchronization of the lights on East Avenue, Dicesare states. The existing study was done in 1996.

Dicesare would prepare a plan to update the light at East Avenue and Fort Point Street, and its control system. Lights from Winfield Street to the intersection of Myrtle and St. John’s Place would be coordinated.

Also, the topographic survey needs to be updated to the same standards as used in the rest of the state’s work because the existing East Avenue survey, done by the state in the early 1990s, was based on the National Grid Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929 and the area that includes the other bridges was done to the National American Vertical Datum of 1988.

Dicesare would design storm water management, utility relocation and the new railroad station parking lot planned for the corner of East Avenue and Fort Point Street, where three properties were taken by the state via eminent domain. An additional eight properties would be affected by eminent domain – either a “partial take” or a construction easement, according to Dicesare. A total of 25 properties would be affected by the roadway improvements.

NancyOnNorwalk asked Third Taxing District Commissioner Deb Goldstein for comment; she responded with a letter to the editor sent to all local media. Mayor Harry Rilling has been trying to get a public meeting together on the topic but has met resistance from the state, she said.

3 comments

Mitch Adis January 4, 2016 at 7:50 am

Can we bury the overhead lines? These lines look like crap and are a liability. This ought to be done with every new development in this city.

J Corbett January 4, 2016 at 10:44 am

Does this include re-routing the traffic patterns along East Ave? Currently, one driving straight down the street must weave back and forth several times due to the turning lanes. This required weaving is confusing and dangerous. While difficult for cars to navigate, it is very scary to be a bike attempting to follow the traffic patterns as well.

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