The Connecticut Department of Transportation is committed to engaging stakeholders like you throughout the project. The questions here are some of the most commonly asked questions. However, don't hesitate to contact the Walk Bridge team with additional questions or queries. We'd love to hear from you!
Call us at 1-833-GO2-WALK (1-833-462-9255) or e-mail us at: email@example.com.
What is the WALK Bridge Program?
The WALK Bridge Program comprises several interrelated road, rail, and utility infrastructure projects that increase safety, reliability, and ease of travel in Norwalk, along the Northeast Corridor and beyond.
The centerpiece project replaces the Norwalk River Railroad Bridge - known locally as the WALK Bridge.
What other projects are connected to WALK Bridge?
Under the Connecticut Department of Transportation's (CTDOT) more extensive TIME For CT (Track Improvement Mobility Enhancement) program, four aging Metro-North Railroad Bridges over Strawberry Hill Avenue, East Avenue, Osborne Avenue, and Fort Point Street will be improved. In addition, Fort Point Street will be realigned, the East Norwalk Train Station will be updated, and roadway reconstruction will take place on East Avenue between Fort Point and Winfield Streets.
CTDOT can streamline work by coordinating a number of identified needs around planned track outages for the WALK Bridge Replacement Project.
When did construction begin on the WALK Bridge Replacement?
Construction started in spring 2023. The first phase of the WALK Bridge is for staging and foundation work ahead of the bridge's major railroad track level, tower and superstructure work.
How long will construction take on the WALK Bridge Replacement?
The WALK Bridge Replacement started in spring 2023 and should be completed in 2029.
The first phase of construction for the WALK Bridge Project consists primarily of pre-work necessary for the first long-term two-track outage required for the WALK Bridge Replacement. Some of this work includes:
- Establishment of site access, moorings and staging areas east and west of the river.
- Drilling for secant piles ahead of the micro-tunnel bypass for MNR's traction power and railroad communication and signals (C&S) systems - the power lines must be removed from the Eversource high towers - before the towers are removed in the next phase of the project.
- Wetland revitalization improvements North and South of the River.
- Vessel relocation and associated dredging.
The remaining construction phases are anticipated to begin in the spring, summer and fall of 2025, respectively, which include the removal of the high towers and the existing bridge structure before constructing the new lift bridge and approach spans. The overall project should be completed in late 2029.
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What If I have a question or a concern regarding the WALK Bridge project?
Stop by our Welcome Center at 24 Marshall Street. We're on the corner of N. Water Street and Marshall Street on the first floor of the Lock Building.
What is the anticipated schedule for operations and activities on Manresa Island?
The CTDOT anticipates acquiring Manresa Island easements for approximately five years, beginning in mid-to-late 2024. CTDOT anticipates utilizing the site for deliveries, mooring of barges, transferring materials, and assembly of the two lift spans.
Will there be commuter rail impacts during WALK Bridge construction?
Railroad service will be maintained and operated during WALK Bridge construction, except for two-weekend outages to accommodate the float-in for the new bridge spans.
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Why is it called "WALK Bridge" ?
While commonly referred to as the "WALK Bridge" by the public, the structure’s official name is the "Norwalk River Railroad Bridge, Bridge No. 04288R, MP 41.5". Over time, the "Norwalk River Railroad Bridge" was shortened to the "WALK Bridge" commonly used today. Similarly, the movable "Saga" bridge in Westport refers to the Saugatuck River over which the rail line passes.
Why does the WALK Bridge need to be replaced now?
The bridge has outlived its intended life span by over two decades and needs replacing. The existing bridge suffers from a system-wide degradation of the bridge structure, significant wear of mechanical and obsolete electrical systems leading to unexpected maintenance costs, operational failures, and emergency repairs. As a part of Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line, the bridge is a critical link in the busiest rail corridor in the nation, the Northeast Corridor, connecting Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C.
What is the design of the new WALK Bridge?
The existing four-span WALK Bridge will be replaced with a state-of-the-art multi-span bridge, including 240-foot dual lift spans with fixed east and west approach spans over the Norwalk River. See more information about the new WALK Bridge here.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) evaluated more than 70 replacement design variations before selecting the vertical lift bridge.
Why can't the WALK Bridge be replaced with a "fixed bridge"?
A fixed bridge fails to meet federal navigability requirements on the Norwalk River. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) would have indicated this if a low-level fixed bridge was suitable during ongoing consultations with the Program. A high-level fixed bridge that meets the 60' vertical clearance the USCG advised would require a 1% graded incline to reach 60'. Such a measure would require miles of additional construction on the railroad in both directions, including new retaining walls and additional rights of way acquisitions.
The Norwalk River has active marine users utilizing the river upstream. The USCG advised the project that a 60' vertical clearance, matching that of the upstream Yankee Doodle Bridge (I-95), would meet the reasonable navigation needs on the river.
What construction method is being applied to the WALK Bridge Program?
CTDOT employs a Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) process. CM/GC is an innovative project delivery method where the contractor acts as Construction Manager during design and advises CTDOT on schedule, phasing, constructability, materials availability, risk, and cost. This integrated team approach, involving the contractor early in the project, adds value by reducing construction duration and impacts, improving construction sequencing and reducing overall risk.
Is the WALK Bridge team coordinating with neighboring construction projects?
CTDOT and the WALK Bridge team meet regularly with municipal leaders, private developers, and project stakeholders to coordinate with other planned construction projects. Coordination with other projects has occurred during the CP234 Interlocking and Danbury Dockyard Projects and will continue throughout the WALK Bridge construction phases to reduce construction impacts for residents, businesses, and commuters.