Route 7 bridge will close again this weekend

Long lines of cars and trucks will again wind their way through Ridgefield and its commercial districts for another closing of Route 7 —  this coming weekend.

The hours staked out for the next Route 7 closure are from 8 p.m. Friday night, Sept. 29, straight through to 6 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 2. On past weekend closures when work has gone well and gotten finished ahead of schedule, the highway has been reopened earlier than initially planned — sometimes during the day Sunday.

Northbound Route 7 traffic will be detoured up Route 102, Branchville Road, through town on Route 35, Main Street and out Danbury Road to join Route 7 again at the intersection of 7 and 35. Southbound traffic will use the same route, in the opposite direction.

And while the state and its contractor had expected this to be the fifth and final closing of Route 7 for bridge repair work just north of Branchville, they now say one more weekend-long closure is planned.

The target weekend is Oct. 13-16.

“It was to be the last; however, it was determined that the final paving would be much better if we utilized another weekend,” said David Neelands, district engineer for the state Department of Transportation (DOT).

Work the state is hoping to get done during the Sept. 29 to Oct. 2 closure includes: concrete approach slabs, minor paving, a new metal guide rail, and removal of the temporary barrier curb.

State traffic studies done in anticipation of the project put the Route 7 traffic likely to be detoured through town at about 17,000 vehicles on a Saturday, and 13,000 on a Sunday.

Ridgefield Police are again planning to address the detour by putting extra officers on duty, including one squad car at the intersection of Route 102 and Florida Road, to deter drivers intent on using it as a shortcut from overwhelming the narrow road.