Route 35 traffic tie-ups return
Traffic nightmare number 35 — as in Route 35 — returned to Ridgefield in the first week of December 2019. And it’s got First Selectman Rudy Marconi looking to improve the way these things are handled.
“The ambulance just returned from the hospital and said it’s a circus — traffic is a mess,” Marconi said Thursday afternoon Dec. 5.
That morning there’d been reports of horrendous traffic back-ups — reminiscent of the bridge project fiasco a couple of years ago — on Route 35 near the Fox Hill condominiums.
The cause appeared to be construction at 233 Danbury Road, where work included digging up part of the road right across from the exit of Fox Hill condominium complex.
“I’m sure they’re doing a water line connection or bringing gas across the street,” Marconi said, speculating as to why the project, which has been going for months, is suddenly causing major traffic delays.
The 233 Danbury Road project is the construction of a multifamily building, which was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission late in 2018 under the 8-30g affordable housing law.
The planned building will have 30 age-restricted units on the three-acre site at 233 Danbury Road. It is being done by CGP at Danbury Road LLC, a company that includes Marty Handshy, Jay Metcalfe and Dennis Stone — the Charter Group Partners who did the 77 Sunset Lane project on former Schlumberger land bought from the town.
Marconi wants to find a way to improve communication in situations where builders get permission from the state to do work on a major highway that may snarl traffic.
Often neither the state nor the builders let the town know in advance what’s going to be happening.
“They don’t call and notify us of anything. It would be nice if they did,“ Marconi said
The first selectman said he’d approach the state Department of Transportation, which grants the permits needed when developers want to work in state highways.
“We’re going to have to work with the state,” Marconi said. “...With the amount of traffic on Route 35 that we experience every day, you can’t just go in the road and close it when you feel like it, because you got a permit.
“It’s got to be something where you schedule it if you’re going to have to shut a main highway down, such as Route 35,” he said. “Even going to one-way traffic doesn’t work any more. So either they’re going to come up with a way to accommodate two-way traffic, or do the work at night, were there’s the least amount of traffic.”
What time in the evening would be reasonable to start work on a highway like Route 35?
“I would say after 8 o’clock,” Marconi said.
“Ths disruptions are far reaching,” Marconi said, “so I’m going to be writing to the state to ask for their consideration.”