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CT DOT: Not replacing Fairfield Avenue overpass? Not an option, says CTDOT

Vehicles leaving I-95 via exit 14. (Harold F. Cobin)

A fuel truck explosion in May destroyed the Fairfield Avenue overpass on I-95 in Norwalk, sparking a debate. As plans for a costly replacement move forward, some residents and officials have questioned whether a new overpass is needed. 

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) says yes. “Not replacing the bridge was looked at and then quickly ruled out,” said CTDOT Communication Director Josh Morgan.

“The other bridges that cross I-95 in Norwalk in the area have substandard geometry and are narrow. That poses a challenge for larger vehicles, such as emergency vehicles and trucks. The Fairfield Avenue Bridge is a main route and critically important for those vehicles.”

When the interstate was completed about 70 years ago, several overpasses were built to provide connectivity for communities split by the highway. Three were built within a radius of three-tenths of a mile: Fairfield Avenue, Stuart Avenue, and Ferris Avenue.

Just south of the interstate, Fairfield Avenue is the meeting point for all three roadways, which has some wondering whether the city might get by with just two. 

With the Fairfield Avenue overpass removed following the explosion, locals and commuters have been forced to find alternate routes. While these modifications have yet to cause  significant traffic issues, CTDOT’s concerns highlight the importance of maintaining a route that can accommodate larger vehicles and ensure the efficient flow of emergency services.

The projected cost of replacing the overpass is “probably in the tens of millions, at least $20 million,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said. Blumenthal has assured local officials that the cost will be covered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The rebuild is expected to last till next spring. The replacement will be similar to the original, with slightly narrower lanes to accommodate bicycle traffic on the shoulders.

Comments

3 responses to “CT DOT: Not replacing Fairfield Avenue overpass? Not an option, says CTDOT”

  1. Scott Vetare

    That’s a no-brainer! The bridge is needed!

  2. Becca Stoll

    Hopefully the bike lanes can be protected for safety. It’s been shown that narrower lanes calm traffic and discourage speeding, but if we can do more we should.

    1. Bryan Meek

      Bayne street became more dangerous and someone paid the ultimate price already. You are correct that most will slow down, but for the few who don’t it can be life shattering. Time will tell, sadly

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