CT leaders calling for limit on number of times Norwalk Bridge opens

NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH)–Senator Richard Blumenthal is urging the U.S. Coast Guard to cut the number of times a bridge opens and closes in Norwalk. It comes in the aftermath of the second commuter nightmare in less than ten days, caused by the 118-year old ‘Walk Bridge.’

On Friday, commuters were stranded as the bridge was closed for over three hours.

It was the same thing the week before.

The Norwalk River Railroad Bridge carries Metro North and Amtrak trains over the Norwalk River, and has been plagued with troubles.

The 118-year old “Walk Bridge” in Norwalk failed 16 times last year.

It got stuck on Friday for the second time in the past two weeks, causing major delays on Metro North and Amtrak, and prompting angry calls to the state’s political leaders.

“The outcry of outrage reflects not just inconvenience but economic catastrophy caused by the outage of this bridge,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Governor Dan Malloy met at MetroNorth headquarters in New York this afternoon to discuss a fast track solution.

The state’s senior U.S. Senator is calling on the Coast Guard to further curtail the number of times the bridge is opened until a new bridge is built.

An exemption to the ‘open on demand’ from boat traffic rule during peak commuting times has been in place since 2007.

“The exemptions now pertain to certain times. We’re asking them to extend these times so that ‘Conn-DOT’ can decline to open the bridge during certain periods of time,” Malloy said.

Both the mayor of Norwalk and the Coast Guard say only recreational boat traffic would be affected by further reducing the hours when the bridge can be opened.

The state has already approved $316 million to replace the bridge. The federal government would kick in another $349 million for a project that would take years.

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