TALKING TRANSPORTATION: Hero Trucker, Wrong Way Crash, Ferry Service

By Jim Cameron

Kudos to the CDOT for their amazing work last week cleaning up from the fiery truck crash in Norwalk which closed I-95 causing countless hours of delays and detours. It’s amazing what CDOT crews can do operating on a deadline and with $20 million in federal money.

HERO TRUCKER: Kudos also to Hazeth Aracena, the truck driver turned hero who was involved in that crash. When the Camaro that seems to have caused the crash (as was reportedly confirmed by the tanker truck’s dash-cam) swerved toward Aracena’s tractor trailer, he tried to move out of the way, only to strike the tanker truck. But Aracena jumped from his cab and rescued the Camaro driver, pulling him from his car.

ANOTHER WRONG-WAY CRASH: This week there was another wrong-way crash, this time on the Merritt Parkway, claiming four lives. Police have yet to identify the driver going the wrong way, pending an autopsy. Was that out-of-state driver “impaired” or just confused… or both?

We’re only in May but there have already been four wrong-way crashes in the state this year claiming 11 lives. That compares to seven who died last year in similar accidents.

So if CDOT can return I-95 from a disaster-scene to regular service in 80 hours, why haven’t they been able to post all the new warning signs at parkway entrances they promised months ago, preventing further carnage?

SHORE LINE EAST: The Connecticut legislature has adjourned, but not before finally restoring a bit more funding for train service on Shore Line East, the commuter railroad between New Haven and New London. The railroad is still only operating at 40% of pre-COVID levels and advocates were seeking $10 million to bring back more trains. The Governor said no, but lawmakers gave them $5 million, enough for four additional trains.

That still only gives Shore Line East riders 20 trains a day, far from enough to encourage people to leave their cars at home. Still, it’s a small victory for the pro-train forces in Southeastern Connecticut, what one local resident calls “the forgotten corner”.

BRIDGEPORT FERRY: A great start to the summer season for the Bridgeport – Port Jefferson ferry. They started their three-ferry service early this year adding what VP / GM Fred Hall says is the secret for success: “frequency and capacity”.

In the first few days of this month ridership is already up 15%, perhaps helped by drivers trying to avoid the I-95 shutdown that weekend.

A fourth ferry, the “Long Island” has just been launched in Florida and they hope to have it in service by the late fall.

Nearing completion nearby in Bridgeport is that city’s new high-speed ferry dock, built with $10.5 million in federal funds and $700,000 from city taxpayers. Of course, there’s nobody planning to offer fast ferry service there, nor do I predict there ever will be.

Just another Bridgeport boondoggle.

JIM CAMERON has lived in Darien for over 30 years. He serves on the Darien RTM and is Program Director of Darien TV79. He served 19 years on the CT Metro-North Rail Commuter Council, four as its Chairman. In 2014 he founded a new advocacy group, The Commuter Action Group which advocates on behalf of Metro-North riders. His newspaper column “Talking Transportation” runs in several newspapers as well as Greenwich Free Press. Archives can be found at   

You can contact Jim at [email protected]