Video courtesy Jim Palen
Darien residents driving through Noroton Heights might notice something missing by the train station Saturday morning. The northbound platform has now been completely demolished to make way for improvements.
Darien received a federal grant of $250,000 for a transit-access study in 2015 and the town is now starting to see the benefits. The Connecticut Department of Transportation began a project to replace both platforms at the Noroton Heights train station on March 27.
Noroton Heights has become the site of major redevelopment in town and the railroad station can certainly expect more traffic as new projects bring more apartments to the area.
The Department of Transportation hired Manafort Brothers Inc. as the project’s contractor at a cost of $6.27 million in October 2016. Public Works Director Ed Gentile said other insurance, fees and other charges bring the overall cost of the project closer to $8 million for the state.
Replacement of the platforms will be done in stages to prevent full closure on either side of the train station. The project is separated into four separate stages with two winter shutdowns, as the concrete would not set properly under cold conditions. Setup for demolition of the platforms is now underway, but the project is expected to go on through November 2018.
While each stage is underway, a 400 foot portion of the platform would remain accessible to commuters. Along with replacing the deteriorating concrete walkways, the project aims to improve the station’s fixtures, including the eastbound platform shelter, guard and handrails and lighting improvements. Commuters can expect general quality of life improvements around the station.
As a result of the project, the southern side of Noroton Heights parking lot will lose about 30 commuter parking spaces. Town Administrator Kate Buch said the town issued about 20 less permits for the Noroton Heights to prepare for the loss of parking at the station. Gentile said the contractor’s decision to change the method of concrete pour for the project saved an additional 20 parking spaces that may have been lost.