Equipment problem backs up I95 Tuesday a.m., DOT apologizes

A problem with a milling machine created a huge headache for many Fairfield County commuters Tuesday morning stuck in southbound I95 traffic — but the good news is the Department of Transportation says it was an “anomaly.” The backup stretched for 15 miles, the DOT said.

Though some thought the two-lane closure was the result of a possible ongoing project, Kevin Nursick, spokesman for the DOT, told The Bulletin’s sister paper The Darien Times it was due to an equipment problem during an ongoing milling and resurfacing project that caused a delay in clearing the roads in time for rush hour.

“When you are working on a resurfacing project, the milling machine grinds up the road to put new asphalt on it,” he said.

Mr. Nursick said during the early morning project, one of the milling machines struck a bridge joint, damaging both the machine and the bridge joint, at about 4:30 a.m. Mr. Nursick said the damage occurred at about the time when the crew begins to clear the construction for the morning commute.

“Now we’re in damage control, we need to fix this bridge joint and get everything squared away as quickly as possible,” he said.

“It didn’t happen as effectively as we wanted to, and we can do nothing but apologize up and down. It was unforeseen and unexpected circumstances,” Mr. Nursick said.

“We do everything we can to have contingency plans in place to get it squared away and our contingency plans do work — but I know that’s not a whole lot of solace for those stuck in traffic this morning,” Mr. Nursick said.

Mr. Nursick said the problem is “all fixed” and it will not be an issue for Wednesday’s commute.

He added  the Department of Transportation is “very, very sensitive to concerns” about traffic and plans projects for the “wee hours of the morning” to avoid impacting the morning or afternoon rush hour.

What happened Tuesday morning is “not what we want to happen or want the public to think of us. It’s not pretty,” he said.

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