The long-awaited pedestrian bridge project linking Wilton’s train station and its town center has taken one giant step toward reality. Construction started last week on the walkway that will span the Norwalk River and make it faster for people to move between the two locations.
The Wilton train station is located on Station Rd. on the east side of the Norwalk River; on the river’s opposite side is the Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT). Part of the project will include improvements to the NRVT leading into Wilton Center as it feeds into the Old Post Office Square shopping center on Center St.
Town officials issued a press release explaining that the first step of the project will involve removing trees within the project limits. Then, the contractor will proceed with bridge foundation work.
Officials have closed the section of the NRVT closest to the project during daytime construction hours, from behind Red Rooster Pub in the Old Post Office Square to the back side of the Merwin Meadows Park soccer field. The press release noted that an effort will be made to open a five-foot width of trail after work hours and on weekends.
The train station’s overflow parking lot on the west side of the train tracks (closest to the river) will be closed throughout the duration of the project. Officials anticipate that work will continue through the fall and be completed in spring 2023.
Town officials have long viewed the pedestrian bridge as a key element to strengthening development and supporting the commercial community in Wilton Center.
“Once completed, the bridge is expected to facilitate residential development within and around the train station, commuter access to residences or shops in the Center and access to the NRVT for bikers, walkers and runners residing on the opposite side of the river or arriving by train,” the release stated.
The bridge is also considered one of the area’s primary benefits by officials involved in the Wilton Center Master Planning process.
First discussed by Wilton officials as early as 2007, the project was made possible through a grant from the State of Connecticut. In February 2020, the Town received a commitment from the State Department of Transportation, promising $1,405,200 in grant money for the construction of the bridge.
The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the project’s momentum, with slowdowns at the state level that brought the planning to a virtual standstill, until recently.
Anyone with questions can contact the Wilton Department of Public Works at 203.563.0152.