The Connecticut Department of Transportation initiated the Walk Bridge Program to replace the 122-year-old deteriorating railroad bridge that crosses the Norwalk River in Norwalk, CT. The existing four-track swing bridge opens to provide access for commercial and private maritime users along the Norwalk River. When closed, the Walk Bridge connects the rail line that passes through the heart of historic South Norwalk on the west side of the river to East Norwalk on the east side.
The Walk Bridge is a critical transportation link between Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston, the area commonly referred to as the Northeast Corridor. The Northeast Corridor is the most frequented rail line in America in both ridership and service frequency. The Walk Bridge carries Metro-North’s New Haven Line, which services approximately 125,000 passengers daily, Amtrak and freight services.
The Replacement of the Walk Bridge, currently in preliminary design, will provide safe and reliable rail transportation services, while improving navigational capacity and dependability for waterway users. The new bridge will be redundant with two independent moveable spans. This allows one span, or two-tracks, to remain in use when the other needs to be serviced. The resilient and sustainable structure will be able to withstand extreme weather events such as storm surges and high winds.
The Walk Bridge Program includes two advance projects, the CP243 Interlocking and Danbury Branch Dockyard Projects, which began construction in Fall 2017. These projects are independent of the Walk Bridge Replacement Project and will improve the dependability of operations on the mainline and shorten the distance of two-track operations for passenger services during the construction.
The CP243 Interlocking Project constructs a new four-track interlocking, which is a powered switch and signal system that allows trains to move from one track to another. CP243 refers to the control point in which 2 corresponds to Metro North’s New Haven Commuter Line and 43 is in reference to the nearest mile post on the rail line, marked from Grand Central Station.
The Danbury Branch Dockyard Project consists of rail improvements and the electrification of the southern portion of the Danbury Line from the mainline wye to approximately one mile north in the area commonly referred to as the Dockyard. The Dockyard is where trains are staged and stored when not in use on the mainline, located near Science Road and Interstate I-95.
The rehabilitation of the Osborne Avenue Bridge and replacement of the East Avenue Bridge will occur as part of the Program. In 2016, repairs were completed to the existing fender protection system in advance of the Walk Bridge construction. Additional work under the Walk Bridge includes: railroad embankments on each side of the river, retaining walls, replacement of track and catenary systems, traction power, the removal of the existing high towers, and replacement of the Fort Point Street Bridge.