Transportation plan focuses on Route 7, Danbury branch

Route 7 and the Danbury branch rail line are the major areas with key projects that would affect Wilton in the South Western Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (SWRMPO) Draft Long Range Transportation Plan, 2015-2040. The plan, released earlier this month, provides a blueprint for transportation investment in eight municipalities in southwestern Connecticut: Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. The public review period runs through April 30.
A total of 203 projects in the plan are listed as “key,” with the vast majority in Stamford. Six would affect Wilton:

  • U.S. 7/Conn. 107 intersection improvement — 2030.

  • Tiered parking at Wilton railroad station — 2020.

  • Intersection improvements — 2030.

  • Pedestrian bridge at Wilton railroad station — 2017.

  • Danbury branch improvements — 2030.

  • U.S. 7 Reconstruction, Grist Mill Road to Conn. 33 — 2020.

All would be implemented with state and federal funding if they were to go forward. Of these, only the pedestrian bridge is currently under way.
As the second-busiest arterial serving southwestern Connecticut, Route 7 is a subject of much scrutiny, the plan acknowledged. Although a widening project completed in 2010 has improved traffic flow, the transportation plan says “severe operational deficiencies and safety hazards” remain in some areas.
In particular, Grist Mill Road, where the Super 7 expressway ends, is congested during peak periods and lacks turning lanes at certain intersections. There is also a southbound segment between Grist Mill Road and Route 33/Westport Road, where the road is reduced to one lane. The plan proposes widening that section to two lanes in both directions, making Route 7 a four-lane road through most of Wilton. No further expansion north of Olmstead Hill Road was recommended.
The plan did, however, recommend that a “comprehensive multi-modal investment study for the Route 7 corridor between I-95 and I-84 be conducted” resulting in an action plan with timelines for feasible projects. The study would examine how future transportation investments would accommodate the movement of people and goods, taking into account anticipated residential, employment and development changes.
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