UPDATE: State: NO, We WON'T Detour Rt. 1 Traffic to Minor Side Streets

CORRECTION: An earlier interpretation of a state news release was incorrect: Traffic from Rt. 1 won't be diverted through Hillside Avenue and Anthony Lane.

Update, 3:13 p.m.:

The state is not proposing to detour Route 1 traffic to minor side streets near the Route 1 bridge over the Noroton River, says Louis Bacho, transportation supervising engineer for the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

"We're not detouring traffic from Rt. 1 onto these side streets," Bacho said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

Although a news release posted on the Darien town government website was read that way by some (including Darien Patch, Darien Times and the spokesman for the state Department of Transportation), the mention of diverted traffic along Anthony Lane and Hillside Avenue refers only to traffic for Brookside Drive residents because that street will be blocked at its intersection with the Post Road.

So the prospect of heavy traffic at the narrow intersection of Anthony Lane and Hillside Avenue is not really a prospect.

A temporary bridge will be constructed just to the north of the current bridge, as mentioned in the news release. What the news release did not specify (but Bacho explained) was that  traffic will be diverted through the front parking lot of the Boatyard at Smokey Joe's restaurant at 1308 E. Main St., on the Stamford side of the river.

The temporary bridge will span the river very close to the Post Road and won't divert traffic onto any other roads, Bacho said.

The state wants to start the project in the summer of 2016 and continue it into the summer or fall of 2017, since state planners think two construction seasons are needed to get the work done, he said.

The current problem with the bridge is that the river is "scouring" or eroding the soil around the abutments on either side. Although the bridge is currently in "fair" condition, at some point the erosion would weaken it further and make it dangerous.

He said state inspectors have seen "scour holes" forming under the bridge -- a precursor to further problems.

The replacement bridge would have the abutments on piles, which should remove the problem. The replacement bridge will be built strong enough that it won't need a mid-stream support structure underneath the span, as the current one has, Bacho said.

Original article, 10:30 a.m.: State: Let's Detour Rt. 1 Traffic to Minor Darien Side Streets: Hearing Tonight

Tiny, hilly, narrow, private Anthony Lane would be turned into a temporary Rt. 1 and Hillside Avenue, which has traffic bumps, would get the same treatment under a state plan to divert traffic while it replaces the Rt. 1 bridge, according to a state announcement.

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, June 24) in the fourth-floor cafeteria of Stamford Government Center (details at the bottom).

Here's the announcement, from the Darien town website:

June 24, 2014

Public Information Meeting - Bridge No. 00315, US Rte.1, Noroton River, Stamford Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (Department) will conduct a Public Information Meeting concerning the replacement of Bridge No. 00315, US Route 1 over Noroton River, which serves as the town line between the city of Stamford and the town of Darien. [...]

The Department’s Bridge Safety and Evaluation Unit has identified the bridge as being in need of replacement. The bridge is not structurally deficient since it is in fair condition, however; the bridge is scour critical.

The recommended bridge replacement consists of a new 44 foot single-span steel multi-girder superstructure with a concrete deck, on new cast-in-place concrete abutments supported on piles.

The proposed horizontal alignment of US Route 1 will match the existing and the proposed vertical profile will be raised approximately 2.5 feet at the bridge to meet the minimum hydraulic opening requirements. The proposed roadway will result in approximately 550 feet of construction.

The proposed west approach roadway section is 62 feet wide with four 11 foot travel lanes, one 10 foot left turn lane and two 4 foot shoulders.  A 6 foot sidewalk is proposed along the south side of the roadway and the north side of the roadway will have a sidewalk varying in width. 

During the construction of the proposed bridge, two lanes of traffic along US Route 1 will be maintained on a temporary bridge north of the existing structure while an additional lane of traffic will be maintained on the existing bridge. Brookside Drive will be closed at its intersection with US Route 1 and traffic will be detoured to Anthony Lane to Hillside Avenue to US Route 1.

Work is anticipated to begin in summer 2016. The replacement of this structure is to be undertaken with Federal and State funds.

Department personnel will be available during the meeting to discuss this project.  More detailed information is available at the Department’s Office of Engineering, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, Connecticut, during office hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding holidays. 

Anyone wishing to review the plans may contact Ms. Susan Morneault at (860) 594-2447 or susan.morneault@ct.gov to make an appointment.

All persons interested in this project are welcome to attend this meeting and discuss the project with Department personnel.

Location: Stamford Government Center’s Fourth Floor Cafeteria, 888 Washington Blvd., Stamford Connecticut 06901

Louis D. Bacho, Transportation Supervising Engineer
Email: Louis.Bacho@ct.gov  

Sara Hamon June 24, 2014 at 01:27 PM
I agree with John Sini. I read the original press release and had the same interpretation as John. I am a current resident of Hillside.
David Gurliacci June 24, 2014 at 01:42 PM
That certainly sounds logical, John and Sara. I've left a message to the state DOT spokesman for the past two hours and more, and no response. I'll call other numbers.
David Gurliacci June 24, 2014 at 01:56 PM
Here's the sentence that led me to think the Rt. 1 traffic would be diverted to those streets: "two lanes of traffic along US Route 1 will be maintained on a temporary bridge north of the existing structure" We all know that the barbecue restaurant is just north of the existing bridge. I didn't think there was room for a new bridge in the parking lot between the restaurant and Route 1, especially on the Darien side. I just looked at the Google satellite map. Maybe that is, in fact, where the bridge goes. A news release a little clearer than mud would help. Making some more calls now.
David Gurliacci June 24, 2014 at 02:13 PM
I just got off the phone with the spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. His interpretation is the same as my original reading, but he's trying to get someone knowledgeable about the project to get back to me. (Also, an earlier communication mixup occurred and his initial response to me didn't get through.)
David Gurliacci June 24, 2014 at 03:34 PM
Corrrection made, update filed (see the article above). On Darien Patch's Facebook page I've got suggestions on how this kind of communication mishap might be avoided in the future.


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