A recent ruling from a federal judge allowed transportation officials to proceed with a $1.1 billion project to replace the 122-year-old Norwalk River Railroad Bridge—also known as the Walk Bridge—in Connecticut.
The existing movable railroad bridge carries four tracks that serve around 200 trains on a daily basis, which includes Amtrak. The Walk Bridge swings open to allow larger boats coming in from Long Island Sound to pass through.
According to a report from the Associated Press (AP), U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill ruled against opponents of the plan, who filed a lawsuit arguing the current plan is too costly and advocated for cheaper solutions to repairing or replacing the span.
The plaintiffs—which included conservation group Norwalk Harbor Keeper—suggested replacing the current bridge with a fixed span or welding the current bridge shut. These alternatives, they said, would save millions in taxpayer dollars and would cause less disruption to the environment.
A spokesperson for the Connecticut DOT told AP that a number of alternatives were considered for the project, and that the department is continuing to respond to stakeholder and community concerns. Judge Underhill seemed to agree, as his ruling found the involved government agencies on the project properly decided on the approach to this project after considering other options.
The U.S. DOT has said that the $1.1 billion price tag for the Walk Bridge includes engineering, rights of way, and construction costs. This includes a new four-track interlocking system that would allow trains to switch tracks, improvements to another nearby rail line, and other related railroad and bridge work.
SOURCE: Associated Press