Branchville station bridge closes for good

Photo of Peter Yankowski

RIDGEFIELD — After 109 years in use, the Depot Road bridge across the Norwalk River at the Branchville Train Station closed permanently Thursday, Oct. 3, after state officials said the bridge was no longer structurally sound.

The narrow concrete structure is the northernmost of the two bridges that connect the Branchville station parking lot with Route 7.

Ridgefield police announced the closure on its Facebook page, noting the bridge will be “closed indefinitely due to structural deficiencies of the bridge determined by State DOT officials.”

State officials said in early September the bridge would have to be closed to trucks immediately, and recommended closing it to all car traffic.

The bridge was previously open to both directions of traffic in and out of the Branchville lot.

With the closing of the bridge, the wider bridge on Portland Avenue is now the only way into the lot from Route 7.

Truck traffic will likely have to drive north through the lot while making deliveries to businesses behind the train station, because the left-handed turn off Portland Avenue is too narrow for most trucks to navigate.

Town officials waited more than two weeks to close the bridge because they were waiting for proper signs from the state, First Selectman Rudy Marconi said in mid-September.

“Waiting on state approval of my signage,” Town Engineer Jake Muller said in September.

Earlier in the week, a group of residents petitioned the bridge’s permanent closure. As of Thursday at 3 p.m., 118 Ridgefielders had signed the petition online.

“There is currently no plan to repair, replace, or reopen this bridge,” Michael Trenck wrote in the petition. “The current alternative to the residents of Branchville by the Ridgefield Board of Selectmen is for all vehicular traffic to use the Portland Avenue bridge as the sole route over the Norwalk River.

“We respectfully ask that the Depot Road Bridge is closed only on a temporary basis, and the Town of Ridgefield immediately and efficiently works towards repairing or replacing this bridge.”