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Judge Approves $1.1B CT Rail Bridge

Thursday, July 18, 2019

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A federal judge recently ruled that plans for a $1.1 billion rail bridge, located in Norwalk, Connecticut, will be able to move forward. The structure to be replaced is currently 122 years old.

U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill’s ruling goes against plan opponents who had previously voiced the opinion that there were cheaper alternatives to replacing or repairing the Norwalk River Railroad Bridge.

Norwalk River Railroad Bridge

According to The Hour, the Walk Bridge is a four-track, swing-span structure that was built in 1896, and has been known for getting chronically getting stuck open. The bridge has outlived its intended lifespan and needs to be replaced. Currently, the structure sees the crossing of 200 trains daily. By 2065, rail ridership is expected to double.

The structure currently in place, which runs 564 feet long, is part of the Metro-North Railroad’s (MNR) New Haven Line, serving as a connection for a busy rail corridor that links Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.

Walk Bridge Program

A federal judge recently ruled that plans for a $1.1 billion rail bridge, located in Norwalk, Connecticut, will be able to move forward. The structure to be replaced is currently 122 years old.

In April, Gov. Ned Lamont said he would “take a look” at the project, raising some concerns over the timeline and the need for replacement sooner rather than later. At the time, independent mayoral candidate Lisa Brinton argued for more cost-effective options to replace the bridge. The Hour reports that the river is classified as a “navigable waterway,” which has necessitated the vertical lift design for the new span.

Lamont noted that if discussions were to go through the Coast Guard, which determines whether a structure would impact the ability to navigate a waterway, the project would be delayed three to five years. In June 2017, the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management determined that the Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Evaluation was satisfactory.

Bridge Replacement

Replacement plans include a new 240-foot vertical-lift bridge. Towers will stand 150 feet above the railroad, around 100 feet shorter than the existing towers. Aesthetic features will also include: machine room enclosures near the tops of the towers; enclosed staircases and elevators; decorative railings for exterior walkway spaces; and tower arch design.

Other work will cover east and west approach embankment work and retaining walls, track work and removal of the high towers currently in place, among other projects. The bridge truss will be made offsite, after which both spans will be floated in by barge.

According to the Associated Press, the $1.1 billion total includes construction cost, rights of way and engineering. So far, the state has received around $161 million in funding for the bridge from an infrastructure resiliency program.

Construction is slated to begin in the fall.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Rail

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