No progress made on Old Tokeneke Bridge
Published 1:05 am, Thursday, May 6, 2010
Members of the Board of Selectmen on Monday discussed the status of the Old Tokeneke Bridge. The bridge, which runs over Five Mile River, straddles the line between the City of Norwalk and the Town of Darien. It has been fenced off for years, with traffic directed over the "new" bridge, a couple yards south on Route 136.
Last month, Norwalk's Common Council voted to appropriate $100,000 to demolish the bridge and an additional $40,000 to construct a new footbridge in its place. At that time, Norwalk's Mayor Richard Moccia said he believed Darien would put forth the same amount of funds for the project. But Darien's Republican First Selectman David Campbell said this was not the case, a position he stuck with at Monday's meeting.
"They've been studying this bridge for years," Campbell said. But while studies have been going on as far back as 2001, the $100,000 price tag is brand new and currently undefined, according to Campbell.
As of now, Darien has not committed any money to the project, and Campbell said the town would not do so until the project is more well defined.
In a March 3 e-mail to Moccia, Campbell wrote, "Dick, I will find the money. I need a firm price with no cost over runs." He has not heard back from Moccia since, he told the BOS on Monday.
"I guess I'm a little curious as to why you told the mayor we'd find the money if we don't really know what it is," said Democratic Selectman David Bayne.
Campbell said he would go through the process of finding the money once they knew more about the project. When asked whether he had looked at any of the town's current capital projects to pull money from, Campbell said he had not. The original budget request to dedicate Darien funds to the bridge project was pulled from the town's budget before it even reached the Board of Selectmen.
"I would support it if they proved that it was a safety hazard, but I don't think it's that bad," Campbell said. He also said that most of the complaints about the bridge come from the Norwalk side.
"What I'm concerned about, is that we do have a safety issue up on Hoyt Street, and [residents] have really come forward and lobbied [on that issue]," Bayne said, "I think they would be somewhat frustrated to see us leapfrog that project."
Campbell and Department of Public Works Director Robert Steeger are currently waiting to hear back from Harold Alvord, Norwalk's Department of Public Works director to present Darien with documentation of the costs associate with the project.
"When the time comes, we can discuss it," said Republican Selectman Jerry Nielsen.