By Thane Grauel
WESTPORT — A two-lane bridge between Westport and Fairfield deemed by the state as “structurally insufficient” and “functionally obsolete” might soon be replaced.
The 24-foot span carries Old Road over Sasco Brook into Fairfield’s Wakeman Lane. It was built in 1965, and its replacement is expected to last 75 years. The new span is to be 38 feet in length.
An application has been filed with the Planning and Zoning Commission because the structure is within 500 feet of an adjoining municipality.
The state Department of Transportation’s website states the project will cost $2.57 million, 80 percent funded by the federal government and 10 percent each by Westport and Fairfield.
The project has been in the pipeline for several years, so it’s possible the costs have increased (the DOT’s website states work was expected to begin in spring 2023). The town’s application to the P&Z doesn’t mention cost.
The application for the new span was filed with the P&Z by Town Engineer Keith Wilberg.
“The purpose of this project is to address the deficiencies in the bridge identified by inspections,” Wilberg wrote. “This bridge was rated to be structurally deficient by the CTDOT Inspection Report dated February 9, 2018, based on the condition of the steel superstructure.”
He said it also is “posted” for load restrictions making it functionally obsolete due to narrow roadway width.
10-ton weight limit signs are posted at the bridge.
Scour, the waterway’s erosion on the bridge’s footings, also is a concern, Wilberg said, with evidence of undermining.
In a notification letter to neighbors, Wilberg said it was hoped the matter would be discussed by the P&Z at its 7 p.m. March 3 meeting.