Four Month Bruce Park Bridge Detour to I95 Starts Monday

At Thursday’s Board of Selectman meeting, DPW engineer Jason Kaufman proposed a road closure and detour for a bridge replacement in Bruce Park.

The bridge is adjacent to the Eversource pedestrian bridge that came as a surprise to Greenwich residents last summer because there were no public hearings.

Kaufman said the work is set to begin on May 1 and will take 4 months.

The detour will be via I-95, which is ironic, given that when traffic is heavy, drivers get off at exit 3 and detour through Bruce Park to get to Cos Cob or get back on I-95 at exit 4.

Kaufman said the project had been in the works for several years and there had been meetings with neighboring associations, BOE and emergency services.

“The goal is to have the road reopened to traffic prior to Sept 1,” he said.

Cars travel over the bridge/causeway in Bruce Park adjacent to the Eversource pedestrian bridge.
Cars travel over the bridge/causeway in Bruce Park adjacent to the Eversource pedestrian bridge.

He said a staged construction approach that would allow the road to stay open was not selected. He said it would have taken longer – resulting in two constructions seasons instead of one.

Also, he said there were concerns about stability of the other half of the bridge if just one half was constructed at a time.

“Based on the deterioration that’s evident underneath, they’re extremely concerned about leaving half, and doing one half,” he said.

Lastly, he said a staged construction would cost more – somewhere between a 30-50% increase, per the design engineer, Alfred Benesch & Company.

A new bridge will omit the northern sidewalk. Pedestrians will instead use Eversource’s footbridge. Pictured: The sidewalk on the north side of the bridge is already fenced off. DPW engineer Jason Kaufman said it was unsafe as it is narrow and sandwiched between a railing and fence. “To keep a sidewalk on the north side, we would have to widen the causeway,” Kaufman said.

Currently there are sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. After the project, there will no longer be sidewalk on the north side. In fact, that sidewalk is already closed off as of April 8. (See photo).

The overall width of the “causeway” will remain the same. Kaufman said that to have widened the bridge/causeway there would be more environmental impact and more involved permitting process.

He said the bridge will be faced with the same type of stone it is faced with, and the bridge rail will be painted similar to the green pedestrian bridge.

The sidewalks and curbing will be granite and concrete, which Kaufman said was standard for the town of Greenwich.

Kaufman explained that the bridge will have 5 ft shoulders, though not a dedicated bike path, but it would accommodate bicycles.

Select person Jill Oberlander asked about potentially accommodating a dedicated bike lane on the bridge and through Bruce Park.

“We really only have vehicle travel widths on those two roads,” said DPW deputy commissioner James Michel. “We’d have to do a significant amount of widening to the roadway within Bruce Park. We’ve tried to minimize the amount of asphalt in Bruce Park to keep the green there.”

The detour during causeway construction in Bruce Park will be via I-95.
Pedestrian bridge underway in Bruce Park. July 2, 2020
Facing west, the sidewalk along the south side of the bridge/causeway in Bruce Park is narrow and deemed unsafe. June 23, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

The new bridge will feature a pre-stressed concrete beam structure. The Contractor is A. Vitti Excavators, LLC, out of Stamford.

Work will take place from 7:00am – 6:00pm, Monday – Friday and 9:00am – 5:00pm on Saturdays, beginning around Monday, April 26, 2021 with installation of temporary traffic control devices.

The new bridge/causeway will omit the northern sidewalk. Pedestrians will instead use Eversource’s footbridge.

In addition to the bridge replacement, curbs and sidewalks near the bridge will be replaced, and portions of Davis Avenue will be repaved, and there will be new markings on pavement.

Access to local driveways and Oneida Drive will be maintained throughout construction.

Oberlander noted that the pedestrian conditions were “horrible” last summer while Eversource worked on the pedestrian footbridge.

She asked that the contractor maintain safe conditions around the site.

Kaufman said the approach from the west toward the causeway had not been paved by Eversource, but it will be paved at the end of the bridge/causeway project.

Oberlander asked if there will be signs on I-95 alerting drivers of the detour to prevent them from detouring through Bruce Park.

Kaufman said there is no local detour when I95 is backed up.

“Any other detour route would extend the travel time significantly, they’d have to go all the way up to central Greenwich and potentially up to route 1 and back,” he said.

The board voted unanimously in favor of the road closure on Davis Ave in Bruce Park for May 1 to Sept 1, 2021.

At rush hour, cars move through east through Bruce Park and across the bridge/causeway that will be subject to a closure and detour effective May 1, 2021. Photo: Leslie Yager

See also:

Questions Answered about that Surprise Pedestrian Bridge in Bruce Park

July 2020

DOT 2-Year Bridge Project Lane Closures on Rte 1 at Hillside Raise Concerns of Traffic & Life-Safety

April 7, 2021

More from the 8, 2021 Selectmen meeting:

Greenwich First Selectman Hopes to Extend Dog Season at Town Beaches

With Luck, Two Time’s a Charm for Emerald Society Parade & Bagpipe Celebration