Route 7 work could cause one-way traffic beginning Monday

A plan to repair a bridge on Route 7 that would require a shutdown of the road — with detours through the village — has been pushed to next year. But work at the site next week could cause alternating one-way traffic.

The project — repair of a bridge over the Norwalk River just north of Route 102 in Branchville — is being delayed because of unforeseen environmental problems, according to a transportation engineer with the state’s Bureau of Engineering and Construction.

Crews will be working to fill the stream channel under the bridge beginning Monday, Oct. 10, which could require the one-way traffic.

“This work will be from the shore nearest Durant’s parking area,” said David D. Neelands, a state engineer.

Neelands said it was possible that the filling at the east end of the bridge could cause some alternating one-way traffic. The stoppages would run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — or at night after 8 p.m., Neelands said.

“We are hoping this work will take no more than two weeks,” he said.

The plan for the now-delayed Route 7 bridge project is to perform the work with road closures and detours on Saturdays, for five weekends. Sundays would be added if necessary. Though no dates or hours for the Saturdays were available, the road could be closed beginning on Friday at 8 p.m. and not reopened until Monday at 6 a.m.

Work could also occur on weekdays with a partially open road, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with alternating one-way traffic.

Also, only as needed, evening work could occur Monday through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. with alternating one-way traffic.

The detours for northbound Route 7 traffic would be at Route 102 (Branchville Road) to Route 35 (Main Street) to Route 7. The detour for southbound traffic would be at Route 35 through the village (Main Street) to Route 102 to Route 7.

“Basically we’re shutting down Ethan Allen Highway, at the junctions of Danbury Road and Branchville Road,” said state engineer John Dunham in July. “There will be local access for people who live in the work area, but not all-the-way-through access.”

Holding up the project is a larger-than-expected scour hole that was found during a site visit this spring.

Dunham said the river “washed away more than we expected during our design phase,” creating a surprise for those trying to push the project through.

“Due to the scour hole issue, the contractor is not scheduling any bridge work this year,” the state engineer told The Press Wednesday, Oct. 5.

“Even with this setback, we still expect the contractor to finish on or near the original completion date this job is designed to be constructed,” he said.