First Selectman Jim Marpe today said he’s not comfortable with accepting $40 million from the state for the rehabilitation of the historic William F. Cribari Bridge until he’s certain what the recommended proposal is.
Marpe’s comments were in keeping with his 2017 rejection of the same amount from the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) allocation for the Transportation Improvement Program’s (TIP) rehabilitation/replacement of the state-owned bridge. He has repeatedly stressed the bridge is integral to the town’s history and character.
“Without seeing the recommended proposal for the Cribari Bridge, I am not comfortable supporting the allocation of $40M over a solution that could be problematic for a significant portion of our population,” Marpe said.
He added that he has yet receive a draft of the Environmental Assessment/Environmental Impact Evaluation (EA/EIE), which would identify the recommended proposal for the Bridge.
“The development of the EA/EIE has taken longer than originally anticipated and is not anticipated until at least the spring of 2021,” Marpe said.
Marpe submitted his comments to the Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WestCOG) in response to its request for comments to the CT DOT draft 2021-2024 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) in anticipation of a vote by the members of the South Western Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (SWRMPO).
“The time to consider the final design and construction costs should be after the Environmental Assessment is completed, and we can assess how the real project reflects local needs and safety requirements,” he said. “I would entertain a TIP amendment once Westport has a solution and an opportunity for the community to weigh in on the specific plans. “
Marpe also released comments to Westporters who offered comments on the bridge that had been solicited through today.
“Thank you to those who took the time to write me with your concerns regarding the 2021-24 State Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) and your interest the Cribari Bridge,” he said. “I have heard both from those who wish to preserve the bridge and those who wish to see it replaced.
“This public feedback has been important to my voting decision and the decisions of my SWRMPO colleagues related to the draft TIP,” he added.