Bridge closure could help Route 7 traffic
There may be relief in sight for long lines of traffic heading southbound in the Branchville section of Ridgefield.
The Depot Road bridge — across the Norwalk River at the northerly entrance to the Branchville train station — is deteriorated and will soon be closed to cars and trucks.
Traffic often backs up on Route 7 behind the light at Route 102, which is also the Depot Road intersection. Southbound drivers wanting to turn left from Route 7 into Depot Road can hold up long lines of traffic behind them, as they wait for a chance to make the cross-traffic turn.
According to Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, the state has told the town it needs to close the bridge to truck traffic immediately. The state also recommended closing the bridge to cars as well and eventually removing it altogether.
On Sept. 10, Marconi said the bridge would be closed to “trucks within the next week.”
Cars should have relatively little difficulty with the bridge closure, being able to enter the train station at the southern end, taking the Portland Avenue bridge. But Marconi said the larger trucks that go to some of the businesses across the railroad tracks can’t negotiate the turn from Portland Avenue onto West Branchville Road — so, they generally use Depot Road and its bridge. Marconi planned to speak to those businesses about the situation.
In the Branchville revitalization project that is in the planning stages, the Portland Avenue bridge is to be realigned — and after that trucks should be able to negotiate the turn onto West Branchville Road. The project’s planners have also looked at closing Depot Road bridge to traffic and making it a pedestrians-only bridge across the river.
“We were going to use it as a pedestrian walkway,” Marconi said, recognizing the Branchville revitalization could be a years-long project.