FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- After the latest round of Metro-North delays Friday afternoon caused by the malfunctioning WALK Bridge in Norwalk, train commuters were hopping mad. And so was the governor.
Gov. Dannel Malloy called for a crisis summit to be held in the coming days with the State of Connecticut, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Metro-North to address the recent incidents that caused the failure of the New Haven Line’s Walk Bridge in Norwalk.
“This is now the second major failure in two weeks, leaving thousands of passengers stranded and causing unacceptable delays. Let me be clear, this is outrageous," Malloy said.
"In speaking with MTA and Metro-North, my administration has stressed that every procedure, protocol and engineering solution must get the immediate attention of the most qualified team of experts. It is of the upmost importance that these operating, maintenance, alternative service and customer protocols be completely critiqued and that near term solutions be found to ensure reliable service for Connecticut commuters.
"It should be noted that these most recent failures punctuate the absolute necessity for replacing this 118-year-old bridge -- a central link to the entire Northeast Corridor. We simply cannot afford peak service disruptions like this, which is why we have requested and are aggressively pursuing federal Resiliency funding for this exact purpose.”
Details of the meeting will be announced in the near future, Malloy's office said.
In April, Malloy announced that the State of Connecticut applied for $600 million in federal transportation funds to help cover the capital costs of three resiliency, or “hardening,” projects central to Connecticut’s commuter rail infrastructure along the New Haven Line.
Specifically, the state requested $349 million in federal funding to cover 75 percent of the cost of the WALK Bridge Replacement Project. Built in 1896, the WALK Bridge will be replaced it with a more resilient “bascule” bridge (which would open for marine traffic from one side with a counterweight system) will significantly enhance the safety and reliability of commuter and intercity passenger service along the Northeast Corridor.