Funding to Fix Walk Bridge on Metro-North

The notorious Walk Bridge over the Norwalk River, which snarled Metro-North Railroad traffic twice earlier this year after it got stuck in the open position, is set for a $3 million repair job.

The State Bond Commission on Friday approved the funding, ensuring the bridge will be returned to operational status before $360 million in federal money can be secured for a replacement.

The  Connecticut Post elaborated more on the story

“One malfunctioning bridge can disrupt the whole Northeast Corridor,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who chairs the bond commission.

“We approved $3 million to repair the bridge and restore automation, and we are implementing these repairs until full replacement of the Walk Bridge can occur,” Malloy said. “We are waiting to hear from our request for federal funding.”

The state money will pay for work on devices that lift the rails and reseat them and other improvements to restore automated operation of the bridge. The bridge swings open over the Norwalk River to allow boats to pass under and pedestrians to cross the waterway.

The bridge caused huge delays and headaches for Metro-North riders after it twice got stuck in the open position in May and again in June. Trains could not pass, backing up rail traffic across Connecticut and beyond. The bridge has since been opened manually only when necessary.

After the latest malfunction, Malloy put together a team of engineers to figure out a solution. The team this week released a report outlining a series of modifications over the next nine months to improve operating systems and reliability of the bridge.

“The New Haven Line is the busiest commuter rail line in America,” Malloy said. “Because our customers — and our economy — rely on this system every day, we are implementing these fixes to increase reliability in the near term until the full replacement of the Walk Bridge can begin.”

When the bridge malfunctions: Routes on either side of South Norwalk are closed as repair crews worked to fix the problem, but Metro-North expect that the repairs might take several hours. MTA officials and police also responded to assist with the crowds, police said. Twenty-four buses were sent from the Bronx to transport passengers between South Norwalk and East Norwalk, according to Metro-North. Trains are scheduled to run between Grand Central and South Norwalk and between East Norwalk and New Haven. Amtrak service on both the Northeast regional and Acela lines are also affected, holding trains at Penn Station for several hours.



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