Look for signs! Depot Road bridge will close any day now
Soon, someday soon, the Depot Road Bridge will be closed, First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.
“Any day, it could be tomorrow. It could be Friday,” Marconi told The Ridgefield Press late Wednesday afternoon. “As soon as the signage is ready, and has been delivered.”
Depot Road Bridge — the more northerly of two bridges in and out of the Branchville train station — was determined to be in poor shape at the start of September, and the Board of Selectmen gave Marconi unanimous backing to close it.
He’s been waiting to get state approval — and now delivery — of the signs.
There’ll be quite a bit of “signage” — as the government folks say — deployed in the area.
“We will be setting up two of the variable messaging signs, with the electronic display,” Marconi said. “There will be two of those set up, as well as more permanent signage notifying commuters — as well as the road itself being barricaded.”
The town is also working with commercial property owners in the vicinity
“Monday morning we met with Nazzaro Brothers to discuss the bridge,” Marconi said.
The Nazzaro self-storage facility “is the single business” most directly accessed by and dependent on the Depot Road bridge. It would potentially be most affected by having traffic forced to use the Portland Avenue Bridge at the south end of the train station.
.”We reviewed the Portland Avenue entrance, from Route 7, and are in discussion with the state,” Marconi said.”But for the traffic in general, there is enough room for cars to make a left on Portland — if you want to go into West Branchville or the train station, you can take that left at Portland and access both.
“For truck traffic, what we will be doing is also entering from Portland, but because of the narrow access to West Branchville from Portland, and the lack of room for trucks to make a turn, we might possibly look at eliminating a couple of parking spots to the south end of the train station parking lot and bringing truck traffic north” — through the parking area used by train commuters.
There would be only larger trucks, which are relatively few — “maybe three to five a month,” Marconi said — going over the Portland Avenue bridge, then north through the train station parking lot to the Depot Road rail crossing, which has a less acute turn onto West Branchville Road. This would allow even large trucks to get to the Nazzaro Brothers and other businesses on West Branchville Road on the other side of the tracks.
“We are also talking with Nazzaro about investing in an actual temporary bridge, and what that cost would be,” Marconi added. “But I do believe that would be cost-prohibitive to the town, and we’d have to investigate if state or federal funds could be used in order to keep that area open.
“But at this point, one thing we know for sure,” Marconi said, “and both Board of Selectmen and the Board of Police Commissioners agree: Due to liability, relative to the structural integrity of that bridge, it must be closed ASPA.”