June 26, 2019

Haskell, Steinberg Cheer State Bonding for Repairs to Westport MTA Bridge

State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) and Representative Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) announced today that the State Bond Commission approved bonding for repairs to a Westport MTA train bridge dating back more than 100 years. The interim repairs to the bridge, which carries trains over the Saugatuck River, are expected to extend its life service by up to 20 years.

“These repairs, made to a bridge dating back to the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, are vitally important to transportation in the 26th District,” said Senator Haskell. “The issues they will address will help keep MTA trains running smooth for years to come, protecting the strength of this vital transportation network. It may even help speed up the train schedule. This funding is welcome to help our region, and our state, retain and improve its transportation strengths.”

“Although these funds will only maintain the bridge, rather than replace it, this support is critical to achieve the ultimate outcome of replacing all four of the ancient bridges on Metro North,” said Representative Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport). “Only then will travel time decrease and reliability be assured.”

“Tens of thousands of commuters depend on the New Haven Line every day, and it’s critical that we maintain our railroad bridges in a ‘state of good repair,’” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti. “The five movable bridges on the New Haven Line are all more than 100 years old; each is always in need of maintenance and, ultimately replacement. The Saga bridge is a key link in this system and I’m happy this funding is being made available.”

“Assuring the quality of rail transportation is essential to Westport’s long-term success as a community,” said Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe. “I appreciate the State Bond Commission giving its attention and support to funding the interim repairs of the Saugatuck River railroad bridge which is a critical piece of infrastructure on the main line of Metro North.”

Today, the State Bond Commission allocated $20 million in repairs to public transportation bridges on the MTA New Haven-New York City train line. Specifically, the repairs are intended for the Saugatuck River bridge in Westport and a second bridge in Cos Cob. These repairs are means to address mechanical, electrical, access deficiencies and steel in the bridge, with an expected extension of train service life of 15 to 20 years.

The Saugatuck Railroad Bridge was built in 1905 the same year President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in for his second term. For reference, the bridge is older than radio (the first radio broadcast was in 1906), actor John Wayne (born in 1907), and the Model T (invented in 1908).