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Articles (including letters to editor) - pro and con are listed below. 
 

Alternatives on the Table       Norwalk Hour 10/18/17
Freeway no More     Norwalk Hour 2/6/17
Connector may gain traffic signals     Norwalk Hour 1/31/17
Highway tolls are back on legislature's table    Norwalk Hour 1/24/17
Tolls back on legislature's table 1/18/17
Route 7/15 Interchange - DOT explains project 1/12/17
Stamford Advocate editorial for interchange 10/4/16
Merritt-Route 7 redesign funded 10/2/16
State to spend $4M on interchange redesign 9/28/16
Obituary for Barbara Quincy - key proponent for this highway 8/16/16
Report:  State's roads, bridges, need work (Norwalk Hour) 7/5/16
Lawmakers run down mileage tax 6/29/16
Fed Up -Murphy, others highlight need for electrification of rail lines (Norwalk Hour) 4/2/16
Governor breathes new life into Super 7 2/19/15
Governor to Ramp up Rt 7 - Merritt Overhaul 2/19/15
SWRPA report on Route 7 corridor
Malloy wants more lanes on I-84 in Danbury 1/23/15
ConnDOT to restart planning for Merritt interchange overhaul 9/28/14
Super 7 project in Limbo as state keeps focus on bridges 6/2/14
Gov. Malloy launches strategic transportation initiative.  6/25/13
Norwalk River Valley Trail takes big step forward 10/19/12
Route 7 series offered no solutions, but here's one: extend expressway 8/30/12
I-95 widening to get started in Norwalk 6/21/12
Work to begin to alleviate I-95, Route 7 bottleneck 4/15/12
Traffic congestion choking region 9/6/11
Developer hoping to buy state land earmarked for Super 7 in Danbury 3/2/11
Regional planning agency defends its efforts to study Route 7 traffic and land use 11/24/10
Duff urges planners to support Route 7 expressway 11/19/10
Planning Officials to air options for Route 7 corridor  (Stamford Advocate) 11/17/10
Transportation takes center stage at forum 3/19/10
Route 7 study group focuses on transportation, land-use patterns 3/2/10
SWRPA seeks public input on Route 7 woes 2/22/10
PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING 2/25/10
Route 7 expressway unrealistic, leaders say 10/7/9
Leaders call for Route 7 transit study 9/24/9
Leaders ponder in-depth Route 7 traffic study, transit funding requests 9/22/9
UConn Stamford poll indicates support for Super 7 expressway 9/10/9
Route 7 Land must be kept for highway (editorial, The Hour) 8/31/9
State DOT Considers Selling Route 7 property 8/30/9
Keep the 'Super 7' option open - Editorial, Advocate 2/8/9
Super 7's Cost, Letter to Editor, Advocate 2/6/9
Letter to Editor, Wilton Villager        2/6/9
Letter to Stamford Advocate regarding Gov. Rell (pdf file) 2/7/9
Letter to Stamford Advocate (pdf file) 2/4/9
Letter to Ms. Simmat, Mr. Hammersley, Mr. Marie 2/1/9
Editorial, Wilton Villager 1/26/9
Town of Weston supports Super 7 (letter from selectman) 1/29/9
Learning from Route 7 by Senator Bob Duff (pdf file)
Wilton senator wants to end 'Super 7' project 1/26/9
Route 7 Interchange to get hearing in Norwalk  1/23/9

2008 news        2007 news       2006 news         2005 news         before 2005

Governor breathes new life into Super 7     Wilton Bulletin    2/19/15
Although he did not mention it in his budget address Wednesday, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s 30-year transportation plan includes $300 million for “Super 7.” That is the subject head given under a $10-billion highway plan.  The entry reads: Extension of Route 7 Expressway in Norwalk north to interchange of Route 7 and Route 33 in Wilton.  There is another $40 million allotted to reconstruct existing Route 7 from Grist Mill Road in Norwalk to the intersection of Route 7 and Route 33 in Wilton, expanding the current two lanes to four lanes.

 

State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) was very displeased with the news.  “This is what they’ve always wanted,” she told The Bulletin on Thursday, Feb. 19, “this huge cloverleaf that would decimate this town.”  She called on anyone — particularly Democrats — who supported the governor in his re-election to oppose it.  “There’s so much more that’s important,” Ms. Boucher said. “Can you imagine with $300 million what they can do to the branch line? What are they thinking?”

 

Super 7 was originally on the drawing board decades ago and spent years in litigation before the idea was shelved in favor of widening Route 7. Many thought the plan was dead.  In addition to his Route 7 plans, the governor would spend $200 million on reconstructing and reconfiguring the interchange between Route 7 and the Merritt Parkway.  This would include final ramp connections to and from the east and from the west with enhancements to the existing old Route 7 interchange area with the Merritt.  “The governor was very careful not to mention anything but the interchange on Route 7 because it overshadows all the good [in the plan],” Ms. Boucher said. The details on the Route 7/Super 7 plans are on page 56 of the governor’s 30-year plan, which can be found on the state website, ct.gov; click on Department of Transportation.

 

Ms. Boucher said the extension from Grist Mill to Route 33 would be akin to “a death by 1,000 cuts. Their true goal is a super highway to Danbury. Were Super 7 to be built in this area it would be elevated to go over wetlands and hills. “The clover leaf, forget it,” Ms. Boucher said. “You would be taking a sweet colonial community and wrecking it.”  She said the Super 7 plan is related to the Route 7/Merritt plan in that it would make commercial property in that area even more valuable than it is now.

“Someone is making a lot of money at the expense of four towns,” including Wilton and Ridgefield, she said.  Ms. Boucher will join state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) and state Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125) at Wilton Library on Tuesday, Feb. 24, from 8 to 9:30 a.m. for a previously planned legislative forum. Registration by Feb. 23 is highly recommended. Information: 203-762-3950 or wiltonlibrary.org.

SWRPA Report on Route 7 Corridor Assessment & Implementation
Although this was written in 2012, this report is relevant to the improvement of traffic along this critical corridor.  Routes 8 and 25 are both effective highways linking upstate CT with Fairfield County.  With a high concentration of business in southwestern Fairfield County, Route 7 is equally as critical as widening route 84. 

Malloy wants more lanes on I-84 in Danbury
Stamford Advocate  1/12/15

DANBURY -- Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants the state to widen a five-mile stretch of Interstate 84 between exits 3 and 8 in Danbury.  The project would not only reduce congestion in that stretch of road, he said Thursday morning, but would also save millions daily in congestion-related costs and help grow the economy in western Connecticut.

"It's time to modernize that roadway," Malloy said during a news conference in the rest area at Exit 2, providing a glimpse of the "comprehensive transportation plan" he will spell out when he delivers his budget address to the General Assembly next month.  "It's not simply about highways and bridges," he said. "It's also about increased bus service in the Danbury region, and a more modern service. It's about additional improvements to the Danbury (commuter) line and an extension of the Danbury line beyond where it currently terminates. It is, as well, about modernizing the roadway that's behind me."

His visit comes just days after he announced an ambitious, multibillion-dollar vision for transit improvements statewide. It also follows last week's approval by the State Bond Commission of $5.75 million for design of new railroad stations on commuter lines and for enhancements to the Merritt 7 stop on the Danbury branch of Metro-North.

Widening I-84 has been on the drawing board since the mid-2000s. Last year the state dropped a decade-old plan to add a lane to the entire 30 miles of highway from the New York line to Waterbury because the projected $4 billion cost was too high, but Malloy has since proposed improving individual stretches in Danbury and Waterbury.

"84 is an unusual road in one state in that it connects three cities with a population of 100,000 or more: Danbury to Waterbury to Hartford," he said. "And yet, in major portions of that roadway, it narrows to two lanes. ... It needs to be widened to three lanes in its entirety."  Asked whether tolls might be a possible funding choice for the plan, the governor said he wasn't ready to discuss funding.

"There are many, many ways to pay for transportation improvements. Tolls are one of them," he said. "But there are other ways to raise the capital necessary. ... That's a different discussion.  "We're not focused on funding at the moment. We're focused on getting out the door what the entire vision of a five-year ramp-up and a 25-year construction phase will look like."  James Redeker, commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, said the plan is still being shaped and may be tweaked before Malloy's presentation.  "This part of the state has needs identified for a long, long time and the plan that will be put together will identify how we are going to approach that," he said.

The I-84 corridor through the western part of the state handles more than 125,000 vehicles on an average weekday.  Malloy said the average driver in Connecticut spends an extra 42 hours away in traffic congestions every year. As for the economy, it is the equivalent of $97 million in lost time and wasted fuel every day, he said.

"People in Connecticut have complained about transportation for a long, long time," he said.  "(This plan) will require a ramp-up of budgets almost immediately to build a capacity within the Department of Transportation to do the things we need to do."

noliveira@newstimes.com, 203-731-3411, @olivnelson

GOV. MALLOY LAUNCHES STRATEGIC TRANSPORTATION INITIATIVE
Transform CT Will Build A Prosperous, Sustainable, And Livable Connecticut


(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced today that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched a strategic planning approach to transportation policies, programs, and projects. Transform CT will improve economic growth and competitiveness, build sustainability, and provide a blueprint for a world-class transportation system.

“Transportation is the backbone of our economy,” said Governor Malloy. “The movement of people and goods, facilitating commerce, and bolstering tourism all depend on a highly functioning transit and highway system. Transform CT will help define the very future of Connecticut through a stakeholder process that will solicit input from residents and businesses about what works and what doesn’t in our multi-modal system. The complexities in transportation are enormous, but this process will help us plan for a more sustainable, more efficient future.”

Through a series of public meetings, focus groups, and surveys, DOT will engage businesses, elected officials, transportation advocacy groups, and other organizations and agencies as part of the Transform CT planning effort.

“It is essential that we continue to improve transportation options and service in Connecticut,” said DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker. “This is a strategic approach to connecting our cities and towns and, most importantly, it gives the public a direct role in the process and the product. Improving our transportation system also makes Connecticut a more competitive, sustainable and livable state.”

As part of the public outreach campaign, www.TransformCT.org was launched today to offer residents a place to comment and share ideas on the transportation issues facing Connecticut. Visitors can also sign up to receive updates and public meeting schedules.

Public meetings are scheduled to begin this fall. The first report will be released by February 2014.

10/19/12 Norwalk River Valley Trail takes big step forward – Stamford Advocate
By Meg Barone

A greenway corridor once reserved for proposed construction of a wide roadway to provide speedier flow of motorized traffic between northern and southern portions of Fairfield County is a step closer to its new intended purpose as a leisurely recreational linear park for hikers, bicyclists and even equestrians.

The Norwalk River Valley Trail Steering Committee unveiled the results of a formal routing study this month for the proposed 38-mile multi-purpose trail that will go from Norwalk to Danbury following, in part, the property reserved for the construction of the proposed Super 7 roadway that never came to be. The route study, conducted by Alta Planning + Design, a nationally prominent planning, design and engineering firm, took 18 months to complete and paves the way for the next phase of the ambitious project, which includes coming up with the funds for trail construction.

David Park of Norwalk, a member of the 20-member steering committee which has representatives from each of the involved communities, said the trail will have greater significance beyond recreational purpose. He said it will connect the communities' assets such as rail stations, shopping centers and tourist attractions. Having the routing study in hand is a big step forward and allows the project to move forward from concept to reality, he said.

For Jim Carter of Norwalk, also a member of the steering committee, the study is proof that the project is "do-able" and will happen unlike some grand plans that may sound feasible but never come to fruition.

"We've moved from `hey, wouldn't it be neat to do this?' to `this is feasible and here's how it would look,'" said Pat Sesto, chair of the steering committee who is employed by the town of Wilton.

"Having this routing study is like having a master plan," Park said. "With the plan in place we are now in a better position to seek funding through the municipalities and private and corporate grants," he said. Such a plan must exist before any individual, corporation or government agency would provide funding, he said.

Several sub-committees focus on all the aspects of getting the trail constructed including fundraising. The effort also included the formation of a 501c3 non-profit organization to take tax deductible contributions called "Friends of the NRVT."

The study contains maps, basic trail characteristics, the priorities and anticipated construction challenges. "Every section of the trail will have challenges," Park said.

In some northern communities there may be issues related to private property and rights of way. In Norwalk, Park foresees design issues involving cross roads. "There is a challenge getting around the Merritt Parkway and other roads. We have to do it in a safe manner," he said.

Some issues that other communities might face related to land use should not be a problem for Norwalk, Carter said. "We don't have any of those impediments created by usually troublesome right of ways or private property," he said. The land for the proposed trail through Norwalk is already in public hands. It is either owned or leased by utilities, controlled by the city as parks or open space or owned by the state.

Additionally, Carter said, some of the prep work has already been done, allowing the steering committee to dovetail on that work, which saves money. As one example, he mentioned a CL&P maintenance road to service its power lines, which will comprise part of the trail.

"In this world of limited and constrained budgets piggybacking on other projects, like CL&P's access roads (saves funding)," Carter said.

The proposed 38-mile trail, including spurs and loops, is a multi-purpose trail for non-motorized uses and will go from Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to Danbury passing through Wilton, Ridgefield and Redding. The study solicited comments from community members in each of the five towns. Possible route options and key characteristics of the trail were discussed in two rounds of public work sessions and are reflected in the final recommendation.

The routing study includes pull-out sections for each of the five municipalities along the route so that each one can seek funding for and work on their portions separately. Norwalk and Wilton already have short portions of their trails completed.

The City of Norwalk, through the Department of Public Works, took the lead on the NRVT several years ago, Park said. "We have an existing section of trail that goes from the Maritime Aquarium north through Mathews Park and up to Union Park, and we have a short section of trail between New Canaan Avenue at the electric substation up to Broad Street on CL&P property," Park said. The existing sections of trail in Norwalk are over one mile long, he said.

The Norwalk Department of Public Works is working on a design to connect those two sections of the NRVT. The design work is being done in house but the city will be seeking a $2 million grant for the construction phase, he said.

The characteristics of the trail will be different in various parts of the route. Sesto said some sections of the trail would be wide, perhaps eight to 12 feet wide. Some areas will comprise a paved, hard surface while others will have a soft, crushed stone surface.

Park said Norwalk's portion will consist largely of asphalt. Carter said the seven-mile section from the Maritime Aquarium to Wilton High School is essentially flat. Portions north of that may have rougher terrain.

"It'll be a little bit harder (for those communities) but I think it will happen. It's just more of a challenge," he said. It may also take more time, more effort and more money, he said.

"We know we've got hurdles. We know there are details out there that will adjust our vision," Sesto said. Overall though, "It's a great vision but it's not set in stone."

The study was made possible by an $180,000 grant from the National Recreational Trails Program administered by the Connecticut DEEP. More than 2,500 volunteer hours supported the study and no Norwalk tax dollars were involved. In addition to Alta Planning + Design, the consultant team also included Fitzgerald & Halliday, and Stantec. The disciplines of all the firms complemented each other in order to complete the routing study, Park said.

With the routing study completed, Park said the focus will now be on acquiring the necessary funding to hire an engineer to create the construction drawings and documents and putting the project out to bid.

For information, visit www.nrvt-trail.com

 

Guest Commentary: Route 7 series offered no solutions, but here's one: extend expressway

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) is responsible for overseeing the operation of all forms of transportation in our state, ferry boats to airports. ConnDOT conducts surveys of every state and interstate road in Connecticut on an ongoing basis. These surveys are known as Average Daily Traffic (ADT). Wilton has a number of state roads, 7, 33, 106 etc. 

The Route 7 expressway terminates at Grist Mill Road in Norwalk, which affects Wilton. That terminus has an ADT of 40,100 vehicles per day! The terminus where old Route 7, Main Avenue and Grist Mill meet (at the MV Bureau) has an ADT of 28,200. The Wilton-Norwalk line has an ADT of 32,700 and the merger of routes 33 and 7 shows an ADT of 26,700. The confluence of routes 33, 106 (Wolfpit) and Sharp Hill is 28,800. Where Route 7 crosses the Wilton-Ridgefield town line, the ADT is 19,800.

Route 33, Ridgefield Road, has an ADT of 23,300 at the junction with Route 7. The ADT at Route 33 and Belden Hill Road is 9,900; the ADT at Drum Hill is 7,200. The ADT at Nod Hill is 11,900, and where Route 33 crosses the Ridgefield-Wilton town line the ADT is 5,200. These are all just some examples; there are many more you can see online.

Wilton offers a number of town roads to drivers seeking a way around Route 7, and from the numbers it appears they are using them. If you walk, run, bike, get your mail, or exit your driveway you probably know where those roads are. Those town roads were never designed to handle the overflow traffic volume that the ConnDOT surveys suggest. Safety is compromised as is air quality and noise. Increased traffic destroys the roads, sight lines are compromised, and we pay for maintenance with our public works budgets.

If you do use Route 7 you probably have come across the problem of trying to exit a parking lot, getting stuck behind a turning car, or just trying to cross the street. Route 7 also keeps changing from three lanes to two lanes to four lanes, and one lane heading south past Orem’s. It is over a quarter of a mile on Route 7 between traffic lights from School Road to the YMCA, and even more from Grumman to the 33/7 interchange near Orem’s.

Connecticut has no money to build a “Super 7” now. Recommendations have been made to improve the Danbury train line, and extend it to New Milford. It is a good idea, but why then is I-95 so crowded with a train line running parallel to it?

My mid-term solution is to extend the existing expressway from Grist Mill to the intersection of routes 7 and 33, without interchanges. The land is there to do that. This may entice some companies to expand along Route 7 sections in Wilton, which would help lower our tax burden. Our current zoning regulations can control how things are done so we do not end up with a Route 1 situation. For safety, install more traffic lights, but time them to allow for nonstop movement and more appeal to drivers seeking to pass through, and eventually four-lane the road up to Ridgefield.

Where Wilton is concerned, our town center continues to undergo improvements and serves as our small town focal point. As far as I know River, Horseshoe and Old Ridgefield roads are not used as bypasses, so I doubt our in-town traffic would change. The remaining Route 7 expressway land should not be sold. It should be open now for public use, and kept in place for future generations who may see a need for a “Super 7,” or a hybrid of it. Taxpayers paid for that land over 50 years ago expecting a road to be built. Residents sold their property for the same reasons. Highway engineering has changed a lot in the past 50 years and undoubtedly will improve in the future. Wilton is not an island, it is part of a region. When a river overflows its banks, it is best to try and channel it before it floods everything.

I-95 widening to get started in Norwalk       
Stamford Advocate,     6/21/2012         John Nickerson

With shovels in hand near the southbound on-ramp near Exit 14, officials broke ground Wednesday morning on a project to widen a stretch of Interstate 95 that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called one of the state's worst bottlenecks.

The three-year, $42.3 million project will add a Route 7 connector exit lane to I-95 south that will extend 2,300 feet to Exit 14 at Connecticut Avenue.  Malloy, Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia, state Sen. Bob Duff and state Rep. Larry Cafero, the House Minority Leader, took part in a ground-breaking ceremony across Connecticut Avenue from Swanky Frank's hot dog stand.

Malloy, an admitted fan of Swanky Frank's, said watching exiting traffic back up onto the thruway as he passes Exit 14 was "frightening." He added he is worried about state liability in cases of serious accidents, because the road design connecting Route 7 to I-95 has been causing traffic backups for so long.  Malloy said the improvements, which are to be finished in February 2015, should have been done years ago.

Duff, the vice chairman of the General Assembly's Transportation Committee, is described by Malloy as a "tireless" and "dogged" advocate of the project. He said he was so excited to bring news of the project's start that he woke up at 5:30 a.m.  "I never wake up that early," he said. "It is like Christmas morning,"

Duff said alleviating the backup caused by traffic entering I-95 from the connector and others moving over to get off at Exit 14, "will be a huge quality-of-life improvement for the whole community."  Moccia said he could not think of any I-95 bottleneck worse than this one in Norwalk.  "It's as bad a design as any interstate that has been built," Moccia said before thanking Malloy for his support of the project.

Under the plans, a second 2,100-foot auxiliary lane will also be added to the interstate's northbound lanes from the northbound Scribner Avenue entrance to Exit 15.  The Exit 14 southbound ramp will be widened to three lanes, with three highway overpass bridges replaced at Cedar Street and Taylor and Fairfield avenues to accommodate the wider highway, the plans state.

The construction of new and wider sidewalks along parts of Connecticut Avenue from Fairfield Avenue west to Exit 14 are also planned.  State Department of Transportation officials say preliminary work has had minimal impacts to traffic and construction requiring lane closures will begin immediately.  No road closures have been announced in connection with the project. The work is being done by O&G Industries of Torrington.

 

 

Work to begin to alleviate I-95, Route 7 bottleneck
Martin B. Cassidy      Stamford Advocate       4/15/2012

The state expects to finalize a $43.2 million contract this week to alleviate traffic on Interstate 95 in Norwalk at the Route 7 interchange that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy once called the worst traffic bottleneck in the state.  Work on the project, which is expected to be completed in late spring or early summer 2015 is expected to break ground in June, Connecticut Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Nursick said.

Nursick said Torrington-based O&G Industries' bid was unexpectedly low relative to the $93.1 million the state estimated the project would cost, reflecting continued softness in the construction market, Nursick said.  "This is a trend we've seen continue for awhile," Nursick said. "Perhaps the only upside of the down economy is the competitive environment for state projects and we've seen lower than expected bids for several recent projects."

The project will add a new southbound lane connecting the Route 7 off-ramp at Exit 14 at Scribner Avenue in Norwalk. A northbound lane will connect Scribner Avenue to the Exit 15 Route 7 on-ramp.  The work will also widen the Exit 15 northbound exit ramp to provide two left-turn lanes and one right-turn lane, according to the plans.

The widening of the highway to improve traffic flow will require the replacement of three overpass bridges on Cedar Street, and Taylor and Fairfield avenues, which will require considerable detours.  Malloy pledged to find funding for the project in 2010 calling the stretch of I-95 the state's top bottleneck, which was harming the economy.  In December 2011, the State Bond Commission approved $85.6 million to perform the upgrades.

The project had been originally included in the DOT's 2010 capital budget, but money to begin it was not appropriated.  State Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, vice chairman of the General Assembly's Transportation Committee and long-time proponent of the upgrades praised Malloy and the state for finally funding a project to improve capacity through the stretch.  The sluggish flow of traffic through the area has hurt businesses along Route 1 in Norwalk as well as farther south in the I-95 corridor, Duff said.

"These are improvements which have been needed for a long time and I know the governor is very excited to see this moving forward," Duff said.  Traffic between the two exits is often bumper-to-bumper, from mid-afternoon into the evening. A report earlier this fall by the South Western Regional Planning Agency measured travel during the 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. period between Exits 16 and 14 southbound at 20 mph.

Off the highway, sidewalks will also be added along Route 1 from Exit 14 northward to near Clinton Avenue to help businesses, according to the plans.  In addition to improving traffic flow, the work will also install a new drainage system starting near Exit 14 that will collect water and pull it north to a 25-foot retention basin to be built near Exit 16.

Traffic congestion choking region
Martin B. Cassidy, Staff Writer   Stamford Advocate
September 7, 2011

A new report prepared by the region's transportation planning agency assessing rush-hour backups indicates that even in a sluggish economy, traffic has done little to ease bottlenecks on the region's major state highways.

Average speeds and trip time are the focus of the South Western Regional Planning Agency's 2011 Travel Time Monitoring Program, a semi-annual report identifying the worst bottlenecks on Interstate 95, the Merritt Parkway and Route 7.

"It shows that congestion continues to be a major quality-of-life issue," said William Palmquist, the geographical information system analyst for SWRPA.  To gather data, employees of the agency drove cars carrying a geographic positioning system during commuting trips from April through June, traveling south from 7 to 9 a.m. and north from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The devices collected information on speed, distance traveled and trip time.

Overall, morning commuters on Interstate 95 had an average travel speed of 33 mph, 2 mph slower than recorded in 2009, according to the report. 

Merritt Parkway commuters during the same 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. period had an average travel speed of 37 mph compared with 34 mph in the 2009 version of the report. 

During the morning rush on Interstate 95 southbound, the Route 8 Interchange in Bridgeport between exits 27 and 23 and the stretch from exits 16 to 14 in Norwalk near the Route 7 connector were identified as especially backed up, with travel speeds averaging less than 20 mph. 

Travelers heading south between exits 8 through 6 on I-95, through Stamford's central business district, plodded at speeds of 30 mph or less, according to the report.  During the 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. period on Interstate 95, bumper-to-bumper traffic was found to stretch from exits 3 and 4 in eastern Greenwich through Stamford's central business district north to the Route 7 interchange near exits 15 and 16, with speeds less than 20 mph between exits 9 and 14, according to the report.

On the Merritt Parkway southbound during the morning rush, the stretch between exits 40 through 39 near the Route 7 northbound connector and exits 38 through 36 in New Canaan also had travel speeds averaging less than 20 mph.
At night, the Merritt's average speed was 40 mph, with slower stretches between exits 40-42 in Westport and between exits 47 and 53, according to the report.

A roadway resurfacing project on the Merritt Parkway between Fairfield and Trumbull may have impacted trip times during the study, Palmquist said.  "From year to year you don't see a huge change in travel speeds, but seeing the actual speed makes it more digestible for people," Palmquist said. 

Car runs along a 19.6-mile stretch of Route 7 between Danbury and Norwalk during the morning period recorded an average speed of 27 mph, 2 mph slower than in 2009, with an average trip length of more than 46 minutes.
Without increasing the region's network of alternate modes such as railways and buses, the Department of Transportation expects congested conditions to increase dramatically by 2030, Palmquist said.

"It demonstrates that with increasing traffic volumes expected in the coming decades, some kind of solutions are needed," Palmquist said.  Plans to bid out a $93 million project this year to widen Interstate 95 at the heavily congested area between exits 14 and 15 to add speed change lanes should improve traffic flow through Norwalk, state Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said.

Duff said a fresh look at a long-deferred project to build an expressway on Route 7 between I-84 in Danbury and I-95 in Norwalk is needed to ease congestion and revitalize the economy in the region.  "Quality of life and economic livelihood could be improved by moving forward on Super 7 and continuing to discuss how best to approach that with our new governor," said Duff, who serves as vice-chairman of the General Assembly's transportation committee. "It doesn't only impact Norwalk but everyone else living along the line too." 

The report also noted that rush hour traffic flagged at a traffic counting station on Interstate 95 near Exit 14 showed a 7 percent growth in overall trips from 2007 to 2011, despite the average total number of trips falling by about 5 percent during the same four-year span.  Palmquist said this would strongly indicate motorists have scaled back on their mid-day non-peak automobile travel. 

"It would appear that people would travel at peak times when they have to, but fuel costs and the slow economy may have curbed discretionary trips for shopping and other reasons," Palmquist said.

Developer hoping to buy state land earmarked for Super 7 in Danbury
Danbury News Times    Dirk Perrefort, Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

DANBURY -- A Trumbull development company is trying to buy land along Sugar Hollow Road that the state purchased two decades ago for $1 for a Super 7 expressway.  A Trumbull state representative has introduced legislation to the General Assembly to allow the sale.   But some members of the Danbury delegation are wary because Sugar Hollow Builders LLC has not disclosed plans for the 2.4-acre property it hopes to purchase at fair market value.

 

The company already owns a 1-acre parcel that abuts the state land and Route 7 near the intersection with West Starrs Plain Road, close to the Ridgefield border.  State Rep. T.R. Rowe, R-Trumbull, said he submitted the conveyance request to the General Assembly on behalf of a constituent who is a principal with the development company.  He said the principal, Ron Farrell, owned the parcel before the state acquired the property through eminent domain in 1991. Now he wants it back.

 

"The state doesn't need the property anymore and it seems reasonable that he should get his property back," Rowe told The News-Times.  The state Department of Transportation purchased the property 20 years ago for $1, according to local property records, along with 1,000 acres with the intent of developing a superhighway connecting Danbury and Norwalk.  The state still owns about 300 acres in Danbury that had been purchased for the proposed highway. Support for the expressway waned and the plans were shelved.

 

State Rep. Robert Godfrey, D- Danbury, said a similar proposal to sell the property in question last year caught his eye.  State officials killed the deal because, according to Godfrey, nobody knows what the company wants to develop on the property.  "It's very suspicious to me because the people interested in the property have not been forthcoming with any information," he said. "Why this guy is pushing so hard and why these legislators are being so cooperative I just don't know." 

 

The lawmaker added that he, along with former state Sen. David Cappiello, R-Danbury, and former state Rep. Christopher Scalzo, R-Ridgefield, were instrumental in creating a state law in 1994 stipulating that none of the property purchased for the expressway could be sold.  "My first choice would be build the highway, but that's not going to happen anytime soon, so I would rather see the property remain undeveloped," Godfrey said. 

 

About two years ago, Godfrey said, state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, was successful in repealing the law prohibiting the land's sale.  "She secretly had it repealed and we didn't find out about it until it was too late," he said.  In her own defense, Boucher said nothing was "snuck in."  "It was carefully compromised language and was discussed for quite a while, and the subject of public hearings," she said.  Boucher said the DOT has been very careful about which properties have been sold to ensure it doesn't impede plans for the highway.

 

"The DOT still has an interest in making sure land is available for that purpose," she said.  Selling some of the properties, she added, also brings in revenue at a time when it's desperately needed.  "Who wants to stand in the way of the state from getting more revenue and creating more jobs," Boucher said, adding that she has no knowledge of the proposed land deal in Danbury.

Farrell could not be reached for comment, despite repeated attempts. 

 

Joseph Seaman, of Wilton, whose company J&J Construction is one of the principals with the development company according to state records, also was unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts.

 

Contact Dirk Perrefort at dperrefort@newstimes.com

or at 203-731-3358.
 

Regional planning agency defends its efforts to study Route 7 traffic and land use

By Martin Cassidy         Stamford Advocate
November 24, 2010                     top of page

With no clear consensus to build a four-lane Route 7 expressway between Norwalk and Danbury and with other big projects grounded during the state's budget crisis, local planners limited an ongoing study of transit and land-use issues to target its influence toward more modest but still worthy improvements, the head of the region's municipal planning agency said Tuesday.

Floyd Lapp, executive director of the South Western Regional Planning Agency sent state Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, vice chairman of the Legislature's transportation committee, a response letter after Duff questioned why the study neither endorsed nor analyzed the merits of the long-delayed project that would link Interstate 84 in Danbury to Interstate 95 in Norwalk, a project first proposed in the 1950s.

"It has been in a stalled position for years, and it is basically an option that does not exist at the current time," Lapp said of the expressway. "We can't just start spending money on Super 7, because it has not been studied for years."

Lapp said he shared Duff's frustrations about the stateDepartment of Transportation last year postponing a separate project SWRPA has endorsed to spend $136 million to $156 million to build an interchange between the Merritt Parkway and Route 7 in Norwalk, justifying the cancellation because it lacked money for an environmental study.

The project, initially begun in 2006, was blocked for nearly four years after a nonprofit Merritt Parkway Conservancy forced major aspects of the project to be redesigned, an obstacle that could re-emerge whenever the project is close to beginning again, Lapp said.

"We were disappointed when the DOT unilaterally decided to delay the project because of a lack of money for a study," Lapp said. "When the DOT starts up the engine again, either of their own accord, or because of our agitation, there is no guarantee there won't be a new group that objects to it."

Duff said he acknowledges the lengthy process of grooming the expressway concept into a project might be daunting, but repeated his criticism that the agency's study averted a discussion of the expressway concept because of the likely backlash from opponents who have traffic and environmental concerns about the roadwork.

"I certainly appreciate Floyd Lapp's response, but my position is still the same," Duff said. "I think SWRPA should be more of an advocate of what is in the best interest of the regional economy than placating the few."

Lapp said a decision to back or oppose the expressway project would come only after consensus is reached by the eight chief elected officials of the member municipalities that are part of theSouth Western Metropolitan Planning Organization to approve the expressway concept.

Lapp said the lack of consideration of the expressway and the interchange were based on the likelihood the projects will remain dormant for the foreseeable future.

"If there is agreement in the MPO, we will add it to our improvement plan and seek funding," Lapp said. "The interchange is one of our highest priorities, and we support it too. It was a good project, and it was deleted by the DOT."

State Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, an opponent of the expressway concept, said any effort to revive it would be prohibitively expensive under the state's budget crisis and face widespread opposition from Wilton and Ridgefield residents and leaders.

"We have a $3.5 billion budget deficit in the coming year, and the discussion of any issue in coming years is going to be colored and influenced by that," Boucher said. "Hartford has not kept its financial house in order for years, and we have to handle that first."

Duff urges planners to support Route 7 expressway

November 19, 2010                          top of page

 

State Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, has asked the region's municipal planning agency to use an ongoing Route 7 corridor study to push for design and construction of a long-delayed four-lane throughway along the route and an interchange between the Merritt Parkway and Route 7 to improve traffic flow.

In a letter to South Western Regional Planning AgencyExecutive Director Floyd Lapp, Duff, vice chairman of the state legislature transportation committee, wrote that an ongoing $375,000 study by the agency should support allocating limited funding toward those two projects before advocating other measures, such as further widening of parts of Route 7 and intersection improvements.

Duff said he supports the study's premise of improving bicycle and pedestrian mobility, but that the throughway linking Interstate 95 in Norwalk to Interstate 84 in Danbury is needed to preserve the region's economy, with other improvements incorporated alongside it.

"I've said this very consistently that we should go toward building an expressway and get the interchange done," Duff said Thursday. "The study continues to justify widening over what is probably the better option which is throughway, which would incorporate the other modes of transportation."

Lapp could not be reached for comment, but Craig Lader, a senior transportation planner for SWRPA who is overseeing the study, said the agency did not include the Route 7 expressway concept because it wanted to limit its focus to a range of improvements that could be accommodated within the current configuration of Route 7.

The study only endorses a limited amount of widening, Lader said, including a section of Route 7 near Route 33, and focuses more attention on intersection improvements, improving rail stations, and other roadway redesign work to improve conditions for walkers and bicyclists.

"By no means are we trying to put one project above the other, but we're more interested in the existing Route 7 corridor and trying to do responsible planning by looking at the gaps in needs to develop a plan to address problems in that corridor," Lader said. "We want a plan that works regardless of whether the throughway happens or not."

Last year the state Department of Transportation delayed the scheduled 2012 construction start of the Merritt Parkway/Route 7 interchange because it lacked the necessary funding to conduct an environmental impact study and other necessary advance work for the $136 million project.

That project had been delayed in 2006 after the Merritt Parkway Conservancy successfully sued to halt work, arguing the work violated preservation laws by demolishing the Main Avenue bridge and making landscaping changes to the surrounding greenery.

Previous efforts to build a Route 7 expressway, first proposed in the 1950s, have faltered because of opposition campaigns from state legislators, local leaders, and residents who raised concerns about traffic and environmental impacts of the road.

Last year Duff used a grant for a $10,000 University of Connecticut Stamford poll which indicated that only 6 percent of residents opposed the expressway, and that residents of Danbury, Norwalk, and Darien supported the project.

"My feeling is that the expressway is inevitable," Duff said. "A lot of legislators and officials talk about job growth and they need to put their money where their mouth is."

New Canaan First Selectman Jeb Walker, chairman of the South Western Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization, the transportation policy planning agency for eight southwestern Connecticut municipalities, including Stamford, Norwalk, Wilton, Darien, and New Canaan, said the expressway concept has several drawbacks, including significant opposition and a financially prohibitive cost.

"The efforts of Wilton with the state to widen parts of Route 7 are more than sufficient," Walker said. "I respect the wishes of the Wilton town government because that's the part of the region that will be most affected and they are not for it."

Walker said the Merritt Parkway/Route 7 interchange should be completed in the future, but doubted the state's wherewithal to finish the project because of funding problems and the state's budget deficit.

"The state doesn't have the money for these types of dream projects," he said.

Transportation takes center stage at forum
By Chris Bosak
Norwalk Hour   March 19, 2010                             top of page

Can we keep Fairfield County moving? That was the question posed by the League of Women Voters of Connecticut to a panel of transportation and business experts at Thursday night's Transportation Forum at Norwalk Community College.

The answer often boiled down to three suggestions: preservation of our existing infrastructure, congestion pricing, and building transit- and pedestrian-friendly communities. Even that might not be enough, however, as the state's transportation budget falls far short of what is needed, according to the panelists.

"I'm happy spring is here," Floyd Lapp, executive director of the South Western Regional Planning Agency, said, "but the bloom is off the transportation rose."

Christopher Bruhl, president and CEO of The Business Council of Fairfield County, said selecting the right governor this November will go a long way toward solving the transportation problems of Fairfield County and the state. He said the General Assembly is "even more dysfunctional now than before" because of the state's huge deficit and the solutions talked about at the forum "are not going to be addressed," in the near future.

"For now we just let Department of Transportation officials do the best with what they have to work with right now," he said. "We need to make the candidates for governor aware that transportation is not a transferable expense."

Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign (TSTC), said the state needs to follow a "fix-it-first" strategy of maintaining and preserving our current roads and bridges. Widening roads and building new roads does not solve congestion problems in the long run, she said.

"There are no new highway projects on the books," she said. "We think that's good."

Slevin pushed for more bike- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure as well.

She suggested tolls, pricing to reduce congestion and "other creative" solutions to funding the projects. TSTC is a nonprofit organization focusing on transportation issues in Connecticut, downstate New York and New Jersey.

Jeffrey Parker of Connecticut Department of Transportation said only six percent of the $787 billion federal stimulus package went to improving transportation. Connecticut, he said, received $300 million for roads and bridges, and $157 million for transit improvements. ConnDOT is focusing heavily on preservation, Parker said, including projects on the Merritt Parkway and repairing a bridge in Branford.

"Connecticut had large infrastructure projects that needed to be done," he said. "We're off and running."

One important transit project, he said, is the signalization of the Danbury branch. He also said the new M8 rail cars should be tested this summer and in service by the fall.

Lapp said the United States underfunds transportation by about 40 percent and the stimulus package did not put nearly enough focus on transportation.

He continued his fight for congestion pricing and stressed that a study ought to be continued to determine its feasibility. A $1 million study that had been conducted only concluded that another study should be done. Half a million dollars has been allocated for that second study, but it hasn't been conducted yet.

"Let's really make it happen," he said. "We cut off the follow up."

Congestion pricing, he said, would add revenue to the state, increase the flow of traffic, encourage transit and clean the air -- "all things that we want to see," Lapp said.

Bruhl supports a significant increase in the gas tax, but added that: "Any solution has to be sustainable. We need to look beyond this recession. It also won't help to use the wrong forecast like we did 30 years when we missed the phenomena of women going to work."

Bruhl said it is important not to overlook the aging population and immigrants when planning the future of transportation.

Route 7 study group focuses on transportation, land-use patterns
Kara O'connor, Hour Staff Writer
Norwalk Hour   March 2, 2010
                             top of page
Making changes so the community gets what it wants is the main goal and purpose of the Rt. 7 transportation and study group, according to Susan VanBenschoten, Consultant Project Manager of the study group and chief operating adviser for Fitzgerald and  Halliday Inc.

“This study group is about studying the existing transportation and land-use patterns of Rt. 7 and how to enhance them,” said VanBenschoten.  “Improving the quality of life around the corridor and developing a proactive plan is something we plan to do.”

The  Rt. 7 transportation and study group, sponsored by The South Western Regional Planning Association (SWRPA) and Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (HVCEO ) was first initiated in July 2009.  According to Craig Lader, project manager of the study group and Senior Transportation Planner of SWRPA, the study group was implemented to deal with the issues that affect the lives of nearby residents and other users of the roadway. 

“The study group will evaluate current transportation and land use conditions and investigate opportunities to make improvements by looking at the existing road structure,” said Lader.  “It’s an opportunity to improve safety and land use on Rt. 7.  It’s pretty straightforward.” 

The study group focused on transportation, land use, safety and market patterns along Rt. 7 from Grist Mill Rd. on the Norwalk/Wilton border to Merribrook Rd. near Danbury, said VanBenschoten. 

According to VanBenschoten one of the main topics that the study group focused on was transit-oriented development, which is a plan to develop compact, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods surrounding a transit center or hub such as a train station or bus/intermodal center.  VanBenschoten said that there were four areas around Rt. 7 that had opportunities for transit-oriented development:  I-Park, which is located on the Norwalk/Wilton border; Wilton center, Georgetown and Branchville. 

“We want people to drive along Rt. 7 and feel they are coming into a great place,” said VanBenschoten.  “These four places are definitely an opportunity for us to expand on that.”

According to New Milford resident Beth Mortgan, she doesn’t agree that there should be a study group on the Rt. 7 corridor. 

“I know people that avoid Rt. 7 at all costs, taking back roads, highways, anything and that isn’t going to change,” said Morgan.  “I think that this study is a waste of time and money.”

Wilton resident and Sierra Club CT chapter member Patrice Gillespie said she thinks it is wonder that a study group is looking at the patterns along Rt. 7.

“I think this is a great idea,” said Gillespie.  “My only concern is that the study group should look a little more into Rt. 7’s history, I think a lot of people think that is a very important part of Rt. 7.”

SWRPA seeks public input on Route 7 woes
By Martin B Cassidy, Staff Writer
Advocate, February 22, 2010       
                                                      top of page

In the future, transit-oriented development could allow residents along Route 7 to walk safely to revamped Danbury line train stations or take advantage of more frequent bus service, while widening the state road could make travel less burdensome in the economically important corridor, Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.

Zoning regulations will need to be changed in some areas along the four-lane road if towns hope to see the type of residential developments that could reduce automobile traffic near train stations, Marconi said.

"We need to do a corridor study to figure out how we can get the most out of the potential of Route 7," Marconi said. "There has been a lot of discussion about it, but we need to do an assessment of the use along the road."

Residents from Norwalk to Danbury will have a chance to offer their views about traffic in the Route 7 corridor this week when the Southwestern Regional Planning Agency and the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials host a public information meeting on the Route 7 Transportation and Land Use Study.

The $375,000 study, to be conducted by the engineering firm Fitzgerald & Halliday, will analyze traffic on Route 7 and how to manage future land use to encourage safer traffic flow and increased use of buses and the Danbury Branch of the Metro-North Railroad.

The meeting will be held Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m at Wilton High School, 395 Danbury Road, Wilton.

The study will not evaluate whether the state should pursue building Super 7, a decades-old concept of building a four-lane expressway between Norwalk and Danbury, and instead focuses on the potential of the existing transportation system to keep up with demand, SWRPA Senior Transportation Coordinator Sue Prosi said.

The study also will use traffic accident data to evaluate where improvements such as curb cuts, widening the roadway or adding sidewalks could improve safety, Prosi said.

"It will look at improvements at specific intersections and make recommendations for what measures can address the conditions there," Prosi said.

PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING    
MARCH 1, 2010
Wilton High School Cafeteria
395 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT 06897
Informal Open House: 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Presentation 7:00 pm                                       
                                          top of page

The South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA) along with the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (HVCEO) is conducting a transportation and land use study of Route 7 between Norwalk and Danbury. Route 7 is a critical transportation connection for life in southwestern Connecticut. This segment of Route 7 has been studied for years and some portions have been rebuilt over the decades in order to improve travel. Likewise, commuter rail on the Danbury Branch is currently being studied to determine the best way to improve rail service in the corridor.

Still, there are gaps in the transportation system both on the roadway itself and with options to better connect to the public transportation system that serves the corridor.
This study will look for ways to improve and interconnect the various components of the transportation system; the roadway, commuter rail, bus travel, walking, and biking. The study will also evaluate how land is currently used in the corridor and how it could be used in the future to work with the transportation system serving it.

The study will focus on Route 7 within Danbury, Ridgefield, Redding, and Wilton. The study will not evaluate the need for an expressway from Danbury to Norwalk, but will instead investigate ways to maximize the efficiency and safety of all modes of the existing transportation system.

The first of three public information meetings is being held to present and discuss the study scope, status, the vision for the corridor, and to review existing transportation and land use conditions.
Area residents, business owners, commuters, and all interested stakeholders are encouraged to attend this meeting to share your views about issues and opportunities for improvement in the Route 7 corridor. For study and meeting information, please visit www.route7study.org or contact:

South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA)
Craig Lader (Study Project Manager)
203-316-5190
lader@swrpa.org

Snow Date: In the event of inclement weather, the meeting will be held at the same location and time on Monday, March 1, 2010

Route 7 expressway unrealistic, leaders say   
By Martin B. Cassidy, Staff Writer, Advocate
10/7/2009                                   
                                          top of page

WILTON -- State Sen. Toni Boucher and other leaders rallied Tuesday to take aim at the decades-old concept of a superhighway between Norwalk and Danbury and berate recent efforts to present the project as a viable solution to congestion in the corridor.  Tuesday morning at Wilton Town Hall, Wilton First Selectman Bill Brennan said a recent public campaign by state Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, to revive the long-rejected concept of a four-lane expressway linking Interstate 95 in Norwalk to I-84 in Danbury as misguided and economically destructive.

"I urge Senator Duff to use his passion for roads and spending to fix I-95 first," Brennan said. "...For almost 40 years this road has been discussed, but never constructed. Why? The people most strongly impacted by it are opposed to it."  On Tuesday morning, Boucher, a Republican legislator from Wilton was joined by Brennan, Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi, and state Reps. John Hetherington, R-New Canaan, and Peggy Reeves, D-Norwalk to promise staunch legal and community opposition to squelch consideration of the long-delayed highway.

For now, the state must focus on its investments to widen Route 7 and a $35 million project to upgrade signals on the Danbury to Norwalk rail line, officials said.  "This road would never come into being for at least a generation and the benefits would never be felt by anyone here during their working life," Hetherington said. "But unfortunately the pain would start right away."

During the 2009 legislative session, Boucher successfully sponsored legislation to lift a previous bar on selling hundreds of acres of land being held by the state for possible construction of the highway.  In July, Transportation Commissioner Joseph Marie wrote Gov. M. Jodi Rell to tout the benefits of selling off some of the land to raise revenue for the state and free transportation workers from the obligation of caring for the properties.

The Department of Transportation controls more than 890 acres of vacant land along the right-of-way for the Route 7 expressway, with an estimated value of $80 million to $150 million, according to the DOT.  Boucher also said that a state-funded poll conducted by the University of Connecticut done at the request of Duff was also inaccurate and used methods that could lead to a biased result.

The poll indicated that more residents between Norwalk and Danbury support the idea of the highway than oppose it.  Yesterday Duff defended the survey of 483 residents as statistically valid.  Duff maintained that the officials are part of a minority group that has thus far successfully blocked the highway project which is vital for the state's economy.

Duff said even with rail-line improvements and the current widening; without the highway the corridor will be dead economically if it can't handle traffic smoothly.  "It is imperative to get the road built for our economic success," Duff said. "This isn't an either or, but for the residents of the affected towns it would be much better to get the through traffic onto a highway and let the regular Route 7 become a local road."

Leaders ponder in-depth Route 7 traffic study, transit funding requests
By Martin B. Cassidy, Staff Writer, Advocate
9/22/9                                       
                                          top of page

State leaders should not rule out the long-debated concept of an expressway linking Norwalk to Danbury without a long-range blueprint for how to relieve congestion along Route 7, Weston First Selectman Woody Bliss said.

Bliss and the leaders of seven other Fairfield County municipalities will vote Thursday on whether to back completion of a study to identify whether the expressway, or improved rail or bus lines, would improve the flow of traffic along the route.

The South Western Regional Municipal Planning Organization meets at 8:15 a.m. Thursday at the Norwalk Transit District, 125 Wilson Ave.  Bliss, the group's chairman, said area leaders are concerned the long-stalled expressway project might be permanently scuttled if the state acts on 2008 legislation allowing it to sell off land acquired to build it in order to now raise revenue for other state expenses.  Since the 1970s, leaders and residents from Ridgefield , Wilton , and Redding have successfully rallied opposition to table the expressway project.

Leaders call for Route 7 transit study
By Martin B. Cassidy, Staff Writer, Advocate
09/24/2009  
                                                                      top of page

The elected leaders of eight lower Fairfield County municipalities gave unanimous support Thursday to a fuller study of an unfinished expressway and other possible projects to make travel easier along the bustling Route 7 corridor.

The vote prompted an exchange of views among leaders about their support or staunch opposition to the decades-old concept of a "Super 7" four-lane highway and whether the long-delayed idea had any merit.  "No city has been affected more by not having a Route 7 expressway than our town," said Norwalk Mayor Dick Moccia, who favors the project. "I think we need a statement to keep all the options open."

The project, first proposed in the 1950s, would create a four-lane highway from Interstate 95 in Norwalk to Interstate 84 in Danbury . The initial portion of the road was completed from Interstate 95 in Norwalk to near the Wilton town line. Opposition from environmentalists and nearby residents has stalled the remainder of the expressway, according to local officials.  A list of prioritized projects, whether it included the Super 7 expressway or not, should be compiled before ruling the road out, Weston First Selectman Woody Bliss, chairman of the group said.

"The point is to look at the infrastructure system and not just Super 7 but the future economic development of this region and enabling workers to get from where they live to where they work," he said.  The resolution did not specifically ask that the state efrain from selling 14 state-owned homes and other property in the proposed path of highway. In July, in a letter to Gov. M. Jodi Rell, state Transportation Commissioner Joseph Marie touted the benefits of selling off the state-owned homes in the proposed expressway path, in response to Rell's request from state department heads for lists of saleable properties to raise revenue during the state budget crisis.

The Department of Transportation controls more than 890 acres of vacant land along the right-of-way for the Route 7 expressway, with an estimated value of $80 million to $150 million, according to the DOT.  Any sale of the land reserved for Super 7 had been barred until passage last year of a law sponsored by state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, a staunch opponent of the project. 

At Thursday's meeting, state Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, presented the results of a recently conducted UConn-Stamford survey that says more residents support Super 7 than oppose it.  The survey included 486 responses, including 164 respondents in Norwalk and 100 in Danbury , several times the number of responses for towns like Wilton , Redding and Ridgefield , which showed lower support for the road, according to the survey.

Boucher expressed bafflement at Duff's effort to spur debate about the expressway and also the survey results.  "Quite frankly there were practical reasons it wasn't supported throughout the region," Boucher said of Super 7.  Aside from environmental and economic concerns, Wilton First Selectman Bill Brennan told members that completion of the Super 7 project, which is estimated to cost billions, should be permanently shelved, if only because of state and national budget deficits. 

"We should be listening to the people in this country and this state," Brennan said. "They want government spending reduced and are alarmed over the future consequences of runaway national and state debt that will eventually require higher taxes."  Three residents at the meeting spoke in favor of the Super 7 project eventually being completed. "With population growth in this country, the Route 7 Expressway is something that should eventually be done," Melvin Moore of Darien said.  Last week, members of the Southwestern Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization met with Marie to discuss the state's long-range plans for Route 7, and ask that design and other groundwork for another project, the Route 7/Merritt Parkway interchange, be prioritized, Bliss said. That project is estimated to cost $156 million.

Marie said last week that he was happy to meet with officials about transportation priorities, but that only a limited number of larger-scale construction projects could be funded, given maintenance needs and funding constraints.  "The reality is that there are considerably greater needs than available resources, and we must make sure we are addressing preservation challenges first," he said. "In other words, we must ask ourselves if it makes sense to remodel our kitchen when the roof is leaking."

UConn Stamford poll indicates support for Super 7 expressway
By Martin B. Cassidy, Advocate           
                     top of page
09/10/2009

More area residents support plans for the Super 7 expressway between Norwalk and Danbury than oppose it, according to a new survey, state Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said Wednesday, evidence he hopes can help overcome long odds of resurrecting the decades-old project.

Duff, a long-time supporter of the project, said the $10,000 survey of residents from 11 area municipalities should help reveal that a small, organized minority of environmentalists and residents of smaller towns like Ridgefield and Wilton have halted the project by creating a false impression they were in the majority.

The poll, conducted by the University of Connecticut Stamford, was paid for using a grant Duff requested from the state budget office to research “residents' opinions" about completing the road.

"For 30 years we've heard that there isn't support for Super 7 but this debunks that myth," Duff said of the survey. "This shows there is a tremendous amount of support and people want this highway built."

The state Department of Transportation has begun to consider selling off 890 acres set aside along the route to complete the project, and DOT Commissioner Joseph Marie has expressed strong doubts about the project moving forward.

Overall 53 percent of 486 respondents support the highway idea, while only six percent of those surveyed opposed the project, according to the survey.

Clear support for the project was strongest in Danbury, where 65 of 100 respondents backed the project, followed by Norwalk where 89 of 164 respondents, or 53 percent, favored the expressway. Less than 5 percent of residents in both Danbury and Norwalk opposed the project, with the remaining chunks falling into the neutral or unsure categories.

Opposition was strongest in Ridgefield, where 6 of 32 respondents, or 18.8 percent, opposed the project, and in Wilton, where 14 out of 32, or 16 percent, opposed it. By contrast 47 percent of Ridgefield residents supported the work, along with 44 percent in Wilton, according to the survey.

The study was conducted using a "snowball" sampling technique, in which target members of the community are asked to help survey takers identify other targeted respondents to answer the questions. Initially, only 23 of 500 recipients who were contacted for the survey responded, according to the results. Residents of the municipalities surveyed, which included New Canaan, Redding, Wilton, Westport, Darien, and Bethel, were asked to rate their familiarity with Route 7, how much they use it, their familiarity with the Super 7 expressway concept and if the highway was important to them.

State Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, an opponent of the Super 7 expressway project, questioned the survey results, saying it was counter to what she knew about public sentiment among her Wilton and Ridgefield constituents.

Michael Ego, assistant vice provost of UConn Stamford, who oversaw the study, said it was statistically reliable, and that the snowball sampling method is a valid and accurate way to get a picture of residents' opinions.

"The $10,000 grant provided to us enabled us to conduct a formal social science research study that we believe is valid and reliable to gather residents' perceptions of a proposed extension of the Super 7 route," Ego said. "We showed no bias towards the outcome of the study and chose this methodology to gather the data."

During the past legislative session, Boucher successfully introduced the legislation setting aside the prohibition on selling the 890 acres it had acquired along the corridor to serve as a right-of-way for the eventual completion of the Super 7 expressway.

"I find it inconsistent with what I know about my constituents in my district," Boucher said of the survey results. "The leaders in the affected towns could spend $10,000 and get very different results and every hearing that we had on this issue drew 500 or 600 people against it, and maybe 10 in favor."

Boucher emphasized that in the late 1990s, when the legislature last formally debated the Super 7 project, leaders agreed to widen Route 7 between Wilton and Danbury as a compromise between with the more extensive expressway project and the environmental and traffic concerns of opponents.

"The state has focused its efforts on widening the existing roadway from Danbury to Wilton and on improving mass transit and other multi-modal forms of transport," Boucher said. "The Super 7 bill has never garnered enough support because it isn't very realistic."

On Wednesday, Weston First Selectman Woody Bliss, chairman of the South West Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization, and others appeared with Duff to tout the results of the survey.

Bliss said that leaders in southern Fairfield County towns support the expressway project to help speed travel between Danbury and Norwalk, which will make it easier to work and travel over longer distances.

"I think our position has been consistently in favor of this link between Danbury and Norwalk," Bliss said. "This survey is tremendous confirmation that people see why this is needed."

State Rep. Christopher Perone, D-Norwalk, said that he thought it was odd that some Wilton and Ridgefield residents opposed construction of Super 7 based on traffic concerns, given that many think the larger road would help alleviate what he called a growing problem with traffic cutting through residential neighborhoods.

"By not doing anything, we're not improving the situation, we're compounding it," Perone said.

State DOT Considers Selling Route 7 property            top of page
By Brian Lockhart, Staff Writer   Advocate
8/20/2009

Want to buy a home along a never-built expressway?  The state Department of Transportation has outlined to the governor the benefits of selling off 14 residences purchased years ago by the state for the expansion of the old Route 7 connecting Norwalk and Danbury.

On July 14 Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell wrote her commissioners and agency heads asking they provide her with lists of saleable assets to help raise revenue during the budget crisis.  Those lists were due July 27 but her office last week was not releasing the details, saying it was still awaiting information.

But the DOT, at The Advocate's request, supplied a copy of a letter Commissioner Joseph Marie sent to Rell outlining properties identified by his department.  Marie said the DOT's Excess Property Inventory Unit identified 2,840 potential parcels divided among 87 municipalities

"The majority of the parcels identified are uneconomic remnants that remain form properties acquired for transportation projects and only have value to an abutting property owner," Marie wrote.

But Marie said the state has valuable land holdings for two dormant express way projects --Route 6, which was intended to proved quicker passage through Andover, Bolton and Coventry, and Route 7.

In total the DOT controls more than 890 acres of vacant land in the Route 7 expressway or Super 7 right of way totaling an estimated $80 million to $150 million, Marie wrote Rell.  The General Assembly in 1993 amended state statutes specifically restricting the sale of any Route 7 properties. But that requirement was lifted during the recently concluded legislative session with the help of Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton,
Marie did not specifically advise selling the vacant land. But he told Rell 14 improved parcels -- properties with homes in Wilton, Ridgefield, Redding and Danbury -- have proven "a liability to the department" and are valued at $6.6 million.

The state acquired the Super 7 properties decades ago to build a four- to six-lane expressway from Norwalk to Danbury. Long-standing opposition from environmentalists and smaller towns along the route has all but killed prospects for Super 7's completion, and the DOT is widening the existing Route 7.

Over the years the DOT has rented the 14 homes to tenants, resulting in a modest income.

According to DOT data the monthly rent ranges from around $1,158 for ranch at 29 Fire Hill Road in Ridgefield, built in 1950, to $3,000 for the colonial at 11 West Stars Plain Rd. in Danbury, built pre-1967.

But Marie told Rell the lengthy amount of time it takes the state to generate lease agreements and obtain tenants can result in vacancies which leads to vagrancy and vandalism.

He also said the Route 7 expressway is not included in any of the DOT's major initiatives planned through 2025 and were it to proceed, the environmental permitting process might very well require a change in the initial right-of-way.

"The release of these 14 properties does not further jeopardize the future of a Route 7 Expressway as state ownership is incomplete and the location of the corridor has not been finalized," Marie wrote. "However it would relieve the state of continual maintenance and liability and allow department personnel, which have been significantly reduced due to the retirement incentive plan, to focus on primary responsibilities that support active transportation projects."

Keep the 'Super 7' option open                           top of page
Editorial, Advocate                                              2/8/9

Despite current fiscal pressures, the state should not be panicked into a fire sale, particularly with almost 900 acres of land that were purchased for the so-called Super 7 highway that has remained uncompleted for decades. Connecticut officials need to take the long view and do what's best for state residents and businesses.
State Sen. Toni Boucher of Wilton has proposed legislation to either sell the property or designate it as open space. She says the state could sure use the money from the sale. But as a practical matter, it's currently a tough market for selling property. It was valued at almost $150 million in 2007, but it seems doubtful that the state would realize that amount now.

Beyond that, we concur with state Sen. Bob Duff of Norwalk and other officials and area residents who have not given up on the idea of the highway. Given past opposition and monetary concerns, it may be hard to envision such a link between Interstates 95 and 84. And with the state focusing on mass transit to help address chronic traffic congestion, it's easy to dismiss the idea.

But Connecticut needs both roads and mass transit. And the traffic situation is not likely to improve given the current level of development and the expectation of more in the future. Economically, businesses and employees will continue to suffer because of problems with commuting and shipping. Further, air quality will continue to suffer with the emissions from congested traffic.

The state should not eliminate options for this land. If traffic continues to be problems for economic growth and quality of life, and perhaps worsen, opinions may well change.

Super 7's Cost, Letter to Editor, Advocate                 2/6//9             top of page

Yesterday's headline in The Advocate ("Rell lowers the hammer") is a sobering reminder of Connecticut's precarious economic condition and a situation that should be of deep concern to all our citizens.  Apparently the news hasn't gotten through to at least one citizen, as evidenced by his rambling rant about the selfish citizens who are blocking completion of Super 7 ("Highway needs," Letters from readers). 

So where is the state of CT going to come up with the estimated $1.4 billion to complete  Super 7? 

I have a great idea, one that should resonate with the letter writer who hails from Greenwich.  The state can simply impose a "windfall profits tax" on the financial sector geniuses who live in Greenwich, and who have enriched themselves over the past five to 10 years with shamelessly high salaries and bonuses (and contributed mightily to the hard times we are now in).

Surely these Masters of the universe can spare a measly $1.4 billion of their plunder to have an easy access as possible to Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun casinos. 

Steve Symonds, Wilton

Letter to Editor, Wilton Villager        2/6/9              top of page

With federal "Stimulus" funds soon to be available, and with the required Wilton land already owned by the State, this is the time to get moving with the extension beyond Norwalk. Add to this the fact that much or most of the engineering and environmental-impact issues are behind us. So the stimulus impact will be much sooner than otherwise.

Super Seven is going to be an urgent need sooner or later -- and probably sooner, given that the widened old Route Seven will bless us with additional stop-lights, a likely proliferation of strip malls, and the addition of traffic which had previously used secondary roads. Moreover, absent any center-dividers, motorists' need to change lanes could well lead to an increase in head-on collisions.

At the very least, the State should hold on to the right-of-way it already owns. It acquired this land cheaply; and if it now sells the land, the price it gets will probably be much less than the amount it will pay when it re-buys a right-of-way later on. The proposed legislation by State Senators Toni Boucher and Judi Freedman is ill advised. And with Wilton's ever worsening traffic, these ladies may not even be playing such smart local politics.

With federal "Stimulus" funds soon to be available, and with the required Wilton land already owned by the State, this is the time to get moving with the extension beyond Norwalk. Add to this the fact that much or most of the engineering and environmental-impact issues are behind us. So the stimulus impact will be much sooner than otherwise.

Lew Rose, Wilton

Highway Needs, Letter to Advocate  2/3/2009       (PDF file)                  top of page
Jonathan Wilcox, author

Letter sent 2/1/2009                                                     top of page
Dear Ms. Simmat, Mr. Hammersley, Mr. Marie:

I have just read the proposals for the RT 7 Bills. Let me be blunt about this. A lot of time, years, taxpayer money and effort went into acquiring this land for a specific use, a new RT 7. Most of the people who live here now have little knowledge of the history of this original road building project. I can say for sure if they did many would be good and mad that a previous generation stopped this road. Most all of that previous generation have probably moved away. I would also add that those families, or heirs of same, who were forced to sell their land 50 years ago should come after the state for money they may have lost by not retaining appreciating real estate. The towns also lost the tax base from those properties, putting the burden on the remaining homes. The current families living in Wilton, or commuting through it, are now putting up with several years of road expansion on a limited stretch of old RT 7. That causes traffic jams, increased cost of police to direct traffic, and the business closing or income reduction of the merchants who are located in the current construction areas. With the advent of GPS many others are finding the numerous back roads that circumvent RT 7 placing traffic on routes that were never intended for that volume,to say nothing of the safety issues and increased road maintenance.

It does not take a "Certified" traffic engineer to figure out that the "Z" intersection at Grist Mill Road in Norwalk is but a harbinger of what will occur in Wilton when the current "Expansion" is finished on that part of the road. Sure it will make turns easier because of the "5th" lane in Wilton, but most will be heading north or south, the road will go back to two lanes, and their are already some "5th" lanes that do little to help in the areas between Grist Mill and Rt 33. This is a regional situation, and should be not be a town or minority special interest dictated program, the area is to large, and the area population has increased to much, for that mentality in this day and age.

While the economy at this point probably does not allow for limited access highway building, it is not a good idea to declare the land as "Open Space" or give it up as a future road right of way, because someday there will be a vocal group that has the common sense to realize that a road is needed, just as much as an improvement to the train line is needed. There currently probably are a majority that would welcome the new RT 7, but they are busy raising families, making a living, commuting, and have little time to get involved in that goal. On top of that what good is "Open Space" is you can't get to it!!

As a final note on this, I recently had to purchase a car. I could have saved some money buying it in Danbury, but given the valuable time, and aggravation, of getting there for service etc, I decided to buy in Fairfield, and I mentioned that to the Danbury dealer. I am told that I not the first to mention this.

Don't allow this land to be given up, it will be used for it's originally intended purpose someday, and it was paid for with taxpayer money for that reason.

Sincerely

Chauncey O. Johnstone

Editorial, Wilton Villager
January 26, 2009    
             top of page

It's an old song and the tune has gotten no better over the years.   We're referring to not one but two bills that have been introduced into the General Assembly designed to kill off the Route 7 extension project once and for all.  The bills have been introduced by new state Sen. Antonietta Boucher, R-26 that would carry on her long campaign against the limited access highway to Danbury and beyond.

It took years to get as far as New Canaan Avenue (Route 123) and nearly another decade to get it to Grist Mill Road near the Wilton town line.  As a state representative, the senator made her opposition to the highway her mantra, even though public opinion in Wilton over the new road has changed over the years.

One of the two bills she introduced would authorize the Department of Transportation to sell off the land it owns in Wilton or turn it over to the Department of Environmental Protection as open space.

The second bill would allow any land not used for 20 years after its sale to be turned over to the DEP as open space.  Given the present economic position both the state and the nation is in at the moment, it's obvious that construction isn't on the radar right now.

It is not impossible, however, that such a project could become a part of the economic stimulus package. At least extending the road from Grist Mill Road to the intersection of the old Route 7 and lower Route 33 could be a possibility.  The sad part of it is if the state had spent the money it has spent on widening portions of the old highway and sought to build the leg to that intersection, it could be a reality.

We don't agree with the lawmaker's portrayal of a new Route 7 as another I-95 ( the Lodge Turnpike). The planned highway is hardly that -- if anything it's more like the Merritt Parkway.  Another indication of the changing sentiment in Wilton is the existence of the Committee for the Extension of Route 7. Its members see it as an answer to congestion on Route 7 -- so do we. We have always supported improvements to mass transit and, in particular, to improving service on the Danbury branch of Metro-North, including electrifying the line and increasing service.  Extending the new Route 7 would complement an improved rail system, not compete with it.

Wilton senator wants to end 'Super 7' project                        1/26/9
By Brian Lockhart, Staff Writer   Norwalk Advocate
               top of page

A state senator from Wilton wants to put a stake in the long-dormant project to build the "Super 7" expressway linking Norwalk to Danbury.  Toni Boucher, ranking Republican on the legislature's Transportation Committee, submitted two bills that would allow the state Department of Transportation to get rid of about 890 acres it purchased to build "Super 7" decades ago.

The property in Wilton, Redding, Ridgefield and Danbury cost about $29.4 million at the time of purchase. The four- to six-lane "Super 7" highway was planned 50 years ago.

Rural towns and environmentalists have blocked the project, though it still has supporters, notably Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, a vice chairman of the Transportation Committee. But the consensus in Hartford is that "Super 7" will not be built anytime soon, if ever.  The DOT instead moved ahead with widening Route 7.

Boucher wants to authorize the DOT to sell the land or transfer it to the state Department of Environmental Protection for open space.  "Given the long and tortuous history of this whole issue and the work we're now doing to widen (Route 7) and improve the train line through there, it makes sense to look at this option, rather than just letting it lie," Boucher said.

DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick said the agency last evaluated the value of the land in February 2007. The nearly 829 vacant acres were worth $149.7 million, he said. The remaining 61 acres had about 20 houses when
purchased, he said. He could not immediately provide details about the homes but said the value was $14 million in 2007.

Boucher said money from sale of the land is needed now that the state faces budget deficits in the billions of dollars.  "The economic times call for us to look at any and all options for revenue sources," Boucher said.

The other bill she submitted addresses Route 7 indirectly. If passed, it would require any land purchased for highway projects that has gone unused for 20 years to be transferred to the state DEP for open space.  As Boucher seeks support for her proposals, Duff tries to keep "Super 7" on life support.

In 2007, Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, promised Duff $10,000 to pursue an evaluation of the "Super 7" project. The money was released in November to fund a University of Connecticut-Stamford survey to "understand residents' opinions" about completing "Super 7."  Duff said the survey has been pushed back.

"I honestly don't know when it's going to get done -- could be this summer, could be toward the end of the year," he said.  Duff said Boucher's bills are "the same old song and dance." Her predecessor, former Sen. Judith Freedman, has made similar attempts, Duff said.

Freedman said Boucher might have more success because of the fiscal crisis. "Most of the other towns have already decided it's not going to happen," Freedman said. "The sale would make sense to me and I would think it would make sense to the governor and others up there who are looking for money."

Barbara Quincy of Wilton, chairman of the Committee to Expand Route 7, opposes sale of the land.  "I guess you'd say I'm holding out hope they would someday finish the road. I don't think this is the time to sell it or change its status," Quincy said.

But Boucher's "got some clout," Quincy said.

Route 7 Interchange to get hearing in Norwalk         01/23/2009
By Martin B. Cassidy, Staff Writer      
                      top of page
Norwalk Advocate  

Jo-Ann Horvath said she hopes a much-modified plan for the long-stalled Merritt Parkway interchange with Route 7 in Norwalk will gain public approval and help improve traffic safety in her city.

Drivers exiting the Merritt Parkway at Exit 40B add to hazardous traffic conditions on Main and Glover avenues on their way to Route 7, said Horvath, who lives on Creeping Hemlock Drive off Glover Avenue in Norwalk. She has supported construction of a new interchange since 1985.

Over the past decade, work on a new interchange has been delayed by concerns about ruining the historical character of the parkway, and local residents fearful of noise, traffic and pollution.

"I think the plan is a lot better and addresses a lot of the issues they had," Horvath said. "I'm very ready for this project to start."  The state Department of Transportation will hold another public hearing next month on two similar designs for the long-delayed interchange.

The designs were completed after heeding comments from residents of Silvermine, a historic neighborhood of about 1,700 homes in Norwalk, Wilton and New Canaan. They opposed a design with looping ramps they believed would bring traffic, noise and pollution to the area, said Rich Armstrong, principal engineer for the DOT's Bureau of Engineering and Highway Operations.

Engineers will be on hand at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at Norwalk City Hall, 125 East Ave., to answer questions; a presentation of the plans will
follow at 7 p.m.

Residents may also submit written questions and concerns to the DOT about the project, which is projected to cost $136 million to $156 million, Armstrong said.  "We want to get broad public input," he said.

Work on the project stalled in 2006, when the Merritt Parkway Conservancy successfully sued to halt it. At the time, the proposed interchange would have eliminated the historic Main Avenue bridge and done away with sections of parkway landscaping.

In response to Silvermine residents' concerns, the two new designs rearrange ramps connecting the Merritt Parkway and Route 7 so they are at the level of the parkway and include cutoff lighting to minimize glare from the highway, Armstrong said.

"Silvermine residents had some very serious concerns about the previous designs, and these latest alternatives have evolved from all of those meetings with them and other stakeholders," he said. "If we read the response properly, we think the response is pretty favorable."

Keith Simpson, vice chairman of the Merritt Parkway Conservancy, said the plan had positive aspects but the entire group needed to review it before offering official approval.  The additional ramps are needed to complete the interchange and ease traffic congestion, Armstrong said.

Route 7 drivers now cannot enter the Merritt Parkway northbound. Southbound parkway drivers can't enter Route 7, requiring them to exit at Main Avenue.  Under the revised plan, the state will replace the concrete Main Avenue bridge to allow widening of Main Avenue, but the new bridge will match the historical architectural details of the original, Armstrong said.

"It is a historic structure, and the Merritt Parkway Conservancy and the public in general would have liked to see that bridge unaffected," he said. "While we have to widen and replace that particular bridge, we will do it in a way that will very much mimic the first bridge."

If the plan meets public approval, the state will move forward with engineering the project, which would include an extensive environmental impact study that must be accepted by the state Department of Environmental Protection and federal Environmental Protection Agency.

If all goes smoothly, construction could begin in 2012, Armstrong said.  Despite features added to control light and noise from the highway, Eleanor Sasso, a Wilton resident of Silvermine, said the new exit ramps would bring an unacceptable increase in traffic and noise to her street.

She said she wished the interchange ramps could have been configured to run through more commercialized areas west of Silvermine.  "I'm totally against the whole thing," Sasso said. "Once they start putting their tentacles into beautiful neighborhoods, what's to stop them from coming in farther and branching out? That's what happens in neighborhoods."

-- Written questions or comments should be directed to Mr. Thomas A. Harley, Manager of Consultant Design, CT Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 317546, Newington CT 06131-7546, or by e-mail at thomas.harley@po.state.ct.us  

-- Staff Writer Martin B. Cassidy can be reached at martin.cassidy@scni.com or at 964-2264.


CER7
Norwalk - Wilton, CT

info@route7.org