By Thane Grauel

NORWALK — If you live at Saugatuck Shores or elsewhere on the southwestern side of town and often dash to East Norwalk for milk, meals or the package store, the state’s Walk Bridge Replacement Project just made your life a little more difficult.

Last week, the state Department of Transportation announced the East Norwalk railroad station would be closed March 11-31.

Now comes word that East Avenue, a main road that ducks beneath the railroad tracks, will be closed to traffic during the same period, from Fort Point Street to Winfield Street.

“This closure is due to construction the State is doing related to the Walk Bridge Replacement Project, which also includes improvements to the East Norwalk Train Station,” the city of Norwalk said in a posting online.

“A three-week, full roadway closure, as opposed to multiple months of partial road closures, allows Frontier Communications to expedite relocation of fiber lines so that East Avenue roadway improvements can be advanced sooner,” it said.

Vehicles will be detoured onto Fort Point Street and Van Zant Street. Pedestrians can still use East Avenue in the construction area.

The $1 billion project to replace the aged iron rail span, which carries the Northeast Corridor railroad tracks over the Norwalk River, has been in the works for years but is finally building a head of steam. All kinds of infrastructure and utilities are being rearranged.

“The road closure is timed to be concurrent with the temporary East Norwalk Train Station closure, also occurring from March 11 to March 31,” Norwalk’s announcement stated. “During this three-week period, there will be no trains stopping at the East Norwalk Train Station. The parking lot on the south side of the station, however, will remain open.”

During the closure, the Norwalk Transit District will provide free shuttle service Monday to Friday between the East Norwalk and South Norwalk train stations, six times in the morning and eight times in the late afternoon/evening. The shuttle departures and arrivals are timed with the Metro-North schedule. The shuttles will pick riders up at the Roger Square Norwalk Transit District bus shelter across from the cemetery on Gregory Boulevard.

Commuters using the East Norwalk station, which include Westporters, were surprised last week to see signs announcing the station’s closure for three weeks. An announcement from the DOT followed a couple days later, detailing the reasons.

Thane Grauel grew up in Westport and has been a journalist in Fairfield County and beyond for 36 years. Reach him at editor@westportjournal.com. Learn more about us here.