State, town celebrate no more Route 7 closings

The periodic weekend closures of Route 7 in Branchville, with traffic detoured through the center of town, are over — done! — and weekday work at the Route 35 bridge near Fox Hill is progressing toward a late-November return to two-way traffic.

“That was the last closure,” John Dunham, district engineer with the state Department of Transportation, said after Route 7 was shut down in Branchville Friday, Oct. 13, and Saturday, Oct. 14. “We opened up late Saturday night. Only minor work remaining.”

“Is it over? That’s the word on the street,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said of the six weekend closings of Route 7 that date back to June.

“There’s an inspection next week, final inspection,” he added.

The state’s inspection team will likely be joined by Marconi and Town Engineer Charles Fisher.

“We have not been made aware of any further work being done; it is our understanding that the project is complete,” said Ridgefield police Capt. Jeff Kreitz. “Everything went as planned this past weekend and the work was completed at around 11:40 p.m. Saturday evening.”

Route 35

As for the Route 35 job, where alternating one-way traffic is still a periodic — if less frequent — traffic slowdown, work is progressing.

“That’s still on schedule for the two lanes to be open by the end of November,” Marconi said of the Route 35 bridge.

“And over the winter into the spring, the temporary bridge will be removed … the cleanup to be completed by April of 2018.”

Kreitz was philosophical about the series of six weekend Route 7 closures that directed Route 7 traffic, estimated at 13,000 to 17,000 cars a day, through Ridgefield center.

“Overall it went as well as it could, considering the volume of traffic that uses the roadway,” he said. “As you know, after the first closure, we added an additional officer to the detail (at Branchville Road and Florida Road, to discourage short-cutters), and the state put up additional signage to assist motorists.”