NORWALK, Conn. — A Norwalk Commission is appealing for federal help as the state prepares to rebuild the Walk Bridge, the aged railroad bridge over the Norwalk River.
This is the Harbor Management Commission’s reaction to the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) released by the Connecticut Department of Transportation regarding the massive Walk Bridge project.
“Since the DOT has issued their FONSI and were adamant about not supporting independent assessment of this major project facing Norwalk, the commission has decided to explore whether federal funding might be available to assist the commission in reviewing engineering designs, applications and plans that will affect Norwalk Harbor. Perhaps this will set a precedent for other City agencies to do the same,” John Pinto, chairman of the Commission’s Application Review Committee, said Tuesday in an email.
Mayor Harry Rilling did not respond to an email asking about the situation.
In late July, Rilling said in a press release that the FONSI “does not mean that Norwalk will not be impacted by the project – it is a term that means that working together there are things that can be done to mitigate the short and long term effects of the project.”
“In fact, there are many more phases to follow including numerous permits from state and federal agencies,” Rilling was quoted as saying. “While the CT DOT has been working closely with the City of Norwalk and interested stakeholders to advance this project, there remains much work ahead to work out the fine details of the project including environmental mitigation, bridge design, construction sequencing, traffic and parking mitigation as well as support for economic impact mitigation for area businesses.”
Norwalk Harbor Management Commission Chairman Tony Mobilia said Tuesday that no letters have sent yet to seek federal funding. Asked if he thought funding was available, Mobilia said in an email, “We won’t know if we don’t try.”
“We can’t sit back and wait,” Pinto said in an email. “The Walk Bridge Project is too important for Norwalk not to consider all options in manner that benefits the citizens of Norwalk. This project is going to impact the City for over 6 years.”