Post Road East eastbound at Roseville Road will get a left-turn lane to relieve traffic backups and make turning safer. Westbound already has a left-turn lane. / Photo by Thane Grauel.
State Sen. Will Haskell, D-26, along with other state and local officials, talks about the $11.7 million in state money that will be used for Post Road East upgrades. / Photo by Thane Grauel.

By Thane Grauel

WESTPORT — State and local officials gathered on Post Road East at Bulkley Avenue South on Monday morning to highlight $11.7 million in state money for upgrades to the state route.

The State Bond Commission recently voted to approve the funding, which will be used for improvements at the Post Road intersections with Bulkley and Roseville roads, and for the stretch between the Ed Mitchell store and Rayfield Road.

Work on the projects is expected to start this fall, officials said, and should take about a year to complete.

Major components include:

• Post Road East at Bulkley Avenue will get left-turn lanes, and the Bulkley north and south lanes will be adjusted so they are aligned, rather than offset, which contributes to crashes. 

• Post Road East eastbound at Roseville Road will get a left-turn lane to relieve traffic and make turning safer. Westbound already has a left-turn lane. 

• Post Road East from Ed Mitchell’s to Rayfield Road will get a two-way left-turn lane. It will get left-turning traffic in each direction out of the though lanes. 

“We are thrilled,” First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker said. “We are excited to announce this project … It’s an excellent project for the town of Westport and we’re very grateful to the state, the DOT, and to our state representative and senator who are here today for helping getting this off the ground.”

“For folks who don’t know, 24,000 cars on average travel on Westport’s Post Road every single day,” said state Sen. Will Haskell, D-26. “I’m going to say that again because it’s rather shocking — 24,000 cars. That’s nearly the population of Westport.”

Post Road East at Bulkley Avenue will get left-turn lanes, and the Bulkley north and south lanes will be adjusted so that they are aligned, rather than offset, which contributes to crashes. / Photo by Thane Grauel.

“Anyone who travels on this road knows that there are major safety and traffic hurdles that come up each and every day,” he said. 

“Sometimes very serious, involving either injuries or death sometimes, or minor fender-benders. But every day, a staple of this road is bumper to bumper traffic during certain hours of the day, and much of that traffic can be fixed. Many of those accidents can be resolved with just a little bit of investment,” Haskell added,

He said the project would invest in sidewalks as well, making it safer for pedestrians, as well as bus shelters, more modern traffic signals and an app making the Coastal Link bus service easier to use, rather than using three different apps.

“They say all politics is local,” said state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, D-136, “but I would submit that all transportation projects are really local.”

He said the project will make a big difference to people.

“This affects safety, it affects quality of life,” he said. “I’ve been driving Roseville Road, one of the intersections, since I got my driver’s license many, many years ago. I can tell you, having a turn lane there will have a significant difference for people here in Westport, let alone all the people who are coming through. 

“This is a project that is practical,” Steinberg added. “It has been long-needed, and it’s exactly why we have these kinds of bonding funds and why infrastructure investment is so important to every community, including Westport.”

Thane Grauel is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Westport Journal. Learn more about us here.

Post Road East from Ed Mitchell’s store to Rayfield Road will get a two-way left-turn lane. It will get left-turning traffic in each direction out of the through lanes. / Photo by Thane Grauel.