Route 7 bridge work to begin in June

Delays and traffic are sometimes a synonymous pair.

But when talking about the state transportation department’s construction plans for Route 7, the delays take on the role of predecessor.

And the traffic? Well, it’s coming — just not as soon as anybody originally expected.

The Route 7 bridge work— set to close part of the state highway for five weekends and reroute traffic through the village — was originally scheduled to begin in April following several postponements last summer and fall.

According to state engineer John Dunham, that timetable has been pushed back two months, to early June.

So what’s causing the delays to Ridgefield’s next traffic nightmare?

Precast concrete deck panels for the new bridge.

“A lot of this is being built off-site and then put together on-site,” Dunham told The Press Tuesday, March 21. “The contractor ran into a delay, because when he placed the order for deck panels he found it would take longer than anticipated.”

Not the first time

The project was halted throughout the winter after a previous delay from the discovery of a scour hole — an area where sediments have been removed by water, compromising the stability of a structure — last summer.  

Dunham said that once work begins this summer, the area near the bridge will be closed both Saturdays and Sundays.

The roads will be reopened once the weekend work is completed, which Dunham said could sometimes be before Sunday.

Traffic will be re-routed to the center of town through a series of detours.

The detours for northbound Route 7 traffic would be at Route 102 (Branchville Road) to Route 35 (Main Street) to Route 7. The detour for southbound traffic would be at Route 35 through the village to Route 102 to Route 7.

The contractor is also exploring the possibility of night work, Dunham said.

“They may do some alternating one-way traffic at night to make up for scheduling delays,” said Dunham.

But that hasn’t been decided yet.

Durham said he still estimates the work to conclude in August, despite the setbacks.