ConnDOT: Walk Bridge Replacement Project Environmental Assessment Released
2016

CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
NEWS RELEASE
 
2800 BERLIN TURNPIKE P.O. BOX 317546
NEWINGTON CONNECTICUT, 06131-7546
 
FOR RELEASE: September 6, 2016
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
FAX: (860) 594-3065
WEB SITE: www.ct.gov/dot 

Walk Bridge Replacement Project Environmental Assessment Released

45-Day Comment Period Begins – Public Hearing on October 6

 

      The Environmental Assessment for the Walk Railroad Bridge replacement project in Norwalk has been published, triggering a 45-day comment period that will include a public hearing on October 6, 2016.

 

      The analysis – officially the Environmental Assessment/Section 4(f) Evaluation/Environmental Impact Evaluation (EA/EIE) – presents alternatives for the replacement of the Walk Bridge and identifies a preferred alternative: a Long Span Vertical Lift Bridge.

 

      The purpose of the Walk Bridge Replacement Project (Project No. 0301-0176) is to replace the deteriorating railroad bridge over the Norwalk River in Norwalk. One of the oldest movable bridges in the country, the Walk Bridge is a critical transportation link on the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston and carries four tracks of Metro-North Railroad, Amtrak and freight service.

 

      Initially, more than 70 design concepts were screened to identify feasible alternatives. A No Build (No Action) Alternative, Rehabilitation Alternative, Fixed Bridge Alternative and Movable Bridge Alternative were all considered. The No Build Alternative was studied in the EA/EIE as a baseline condition. CTDOT held multiple meetings with stakeholders including federal and state agencies, the City of Norwalk, businesses, and the public to identify concerns and considerations in selecting the Replacement Alternative. 

 

      The EA/EIE, published by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), is available for review at CTDOT, the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, Norwalk City Hall Town Clerk’s Office, and Norwalk Public Libraries, and on the Project Website at www.walkbridgect.com/environmental.

 

      The selection of a Long Span Vertical Lift Bridge as the preferred alternative was based on a comparison of factors such as construction duration, risk, navigation and local road impacts, environmental footprint, long-term performance, aesthetic flexibility and cost as they relate to the project’s Purpose and Need Statement. The Long Span Vertical Lift Bridge is the only alternative with both foundations proposed outside of the existing swing span limits, allowing the existing bridge to remain operational longer during construction and requiring a shorter rail track outage.

 

      The new bridge will provide safe and reliable rail service and efficiencies of rail transportation while improving navigational capacity and dependability for marine traffic. It will be a redundant structure with two independent movable spans – each carrying two tracks – and will be designed and constructed to be resilient and sustainable for extreme weather events including storm surges and high winds.

 

      The Walk Bridge Replacement Project includes railroad approaches from the east and west, totaling approximately one-half-track mile. The project also includes track, catenary, and signal work within the existing state right-of-way, extending from approximately the Washington Street Bridge in South Norwalk to approximately 300 feet east of the Fort Point Street Bridge in East Norwalk. The Fort Point Street Bridge will be replaced as part of the project.

 

      Construction of the new Walk Bridge is anticipated to begin in mid-2018, based on the availability of funding. This project is expected to be undertaken with Federal and State funds.

 

      During the 45-day public comment period from September 6 through October 21, 2016, the public is encouraged to provide comments on the EA/EIE. CTDOT will conduct a Public Hearing on October 6, 2016 at the Norwalk City Hall, Concert Hall at 125 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT. An open forum for informal discussions with Department Officials will begin at 6:00 PM, followed by a formal presentation at 7:00 PM.

 

      The Public Hearing is being held to afford a full opportunity for public participation and to allow open discussion and comments. The Public Hearing will provide an opportunity for oral testimony.

Written statements and exhibits in place of, or in addition to, oral statements made at the public hearing may be submitted either at the public hearing via comment cards or mailed or delivered to Mark W. Alexander, Connecticut Department of Transportation, Bureau of Policy and Planning, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06131 on or before October 21, 2016. Such written statements or exhibits must be reproducible in black and white and on paper not to exceed 8 ˝” x 11” in size. Public comment can also be submitted through the Walk Bridge Program’s website at www.walkbridgect.com/contact or via email at info@walkbridgect.com. These written statements or exhibits will be made a part of the record of the public hearing. CTDOT will consider all oral and written comments received during the public comment period.

 

      The meeting facility is ADA accessible. Free language assistance or sign interpretation may be requested by contacting the Program’s Public Information Office at (203) 752-1996 at least five (5) business days prior to the meeting. Efforts will be made to respond to requests for assistance.

 

More detailed information is available online at www.walkbridgect.com.