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Sunday, March 24 News

DOT plans hearing on $85M ‘final project’ on Merritt Parkway

Just as one Merritt Parkway project is nearing completion in Westport and Fairfield, the state Department of Transportation is preparing for another one that could begin in 2020.

The current project consists of the rehabilitation over five miles of the Merritt and 11 bridge structures built more than 80 years ago. Manafort Brothers, the contractor for $57 million project, has until Aug. 20, 2019 to complete the work.

The final project on the Merritt Parkway will involved work in Westport, Norwalk and New Canaan.

The state Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting on that work that will include safety improvements, resurfacing, enhancements and bridge work on Wednesday, March 27, in the Community Room at the Norwalk City Hall, 125 East Ave..

An open forum for individual discussions with department officials will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a design presentation at 7 p.m.

The eighth and ‘final’ project

“The project has been initiated by the department as part of a corridor improvement effort to provide safety improvements and enhancements to the Merritt Parkway, while maintaining its unique character and aesthetics,” DOT said in a release posted Monday on website. “This is the eighth and final project in a series of eight corridor improvement projects on the Merritt Parkway. With completion of this project, 100 percent of the parkway will be upgraded.”

It said all proposed work will conform to the “Merritt Parkway Guidelines for General Maintenance and Transportation Improvements” recommendations prepared by The Merritt Parkway Working Group in June 1994.

What’s planned?

The project also involves the rehabilitation and restoration of historic bridge structures in accordance with the “Merritt Parkway Bridge Restoration Guide” dated May 2002.

In addition, the project involves the rehabilitation of the existing landscaping by returning it to its original park-like setting in accordance with the "Merritt Parkway Landscape Master Plan" dated October 1994.

The existing guiderail will be replaced with Merritt Parkway Guiderail (a steel-backed timber railing).

The existing rock ledges close to the roadway will be evaluated, and if warranted, will be cut back or shielded with either the Merritt Parkway guiderail or concrete barrier.

A single unit concrete curb and gutter system will also be installed along the grass median.

“Numerous bridges located within the project limits will require minor cosmetic work (various parapet work, graffiti removal, surface and crack repairs to concrete, fencing, overlay, etc). Some bridges will require major work (removing the material on top of the bridge to expose the concrete arch or frame; repair any deteriorated sections; apply a waterproofing membrane; re-establish the roadway to its original profile; perform any necessary underside repairs; clean the bridge, etc.,” the DOT said in the release.

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When it will begin, how much will it cost?

Right-of-way impacts associated with the proposed project are not anticipated.

Construction is anticipated to begin in summer 2020 based on the availability of funding.

The estimated construction cost for this project is approximately $85 million. This project is anticipated to be undertaken with eighty percent (80 percent) federal funds and twenty percent (20 percent) state funds.

If postponement of the public informational meeting is required due to inclement weather or other conditions, it will be held on April 3, at the original hour and location.

Plans of the proposed project will be on display for public review. 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, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., excluding holidays. Any concerns or discussion of this project may be addressed to Matthew R. Vail, P.E. at (860) 594-3274 or by e-mail at Matthew.Vail@ct.gov. Plans are also available for review at the Norwalk, New Canaan and Westport Department of Public Works on March 13, 2019.

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