Route 7 bridge closing gets postponed a week

Tens of thousands of cars detoured through town? Not this weekend.

The planned weekend-long closing of Route 7 for bridge repairs in Branchville is being pushed back a week. The highway closure — originally planned for this coming weekend, Aug. 11-13 — has been rescheduled to go from 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, to the 6 a.m. Monday, Aug. 21.

The follow-up closure that had been planned remains scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 25 to 28.

For each closure, Route 7 is not a through road at the work site, which detours an estimated  17,000 vehicles on Saturdays and 13,000 on Sundays through the center of Ridgefield — right down Main Street — via Route 102 and Route 35.

These will be the third and fourth of five highway closings planned to allow repair of bridge that carries Route 7 over the Norwalk River just north of Branchville.

The closure postponed from this weekend to the Aug 18-21 weekend is needed for the installation of precast concrete bridge abutments.

John Dunham, district engineer for the State Department of Transportation, said the rescheduling was necessary because the company making the precast abutments cannot get them made and delivered on time.

“Our contractor was getting ready to gear up for this weekend and the precast supplier, that’s the company that makes the abutments, got delayed due to weather and he’s not going to be able to meet the schedule for this weekend,” Dunham told the Press on Tuesday, Aug. 8.

A fifth closure will be needed for the $3.5-million bridge project, but dates for it have not yet been announced.