State Says Noroton Heights Station Platforms To Be Replaced By Next June, Town DPW Director Thinks by Christmas

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The project to replace all the concrete platforms at Noroton Heights Railroad Station is officially not due to be over until June 2019, according to the state Department of Transportation, but Darien Public Works Director Edward Gentile doesn’t believe it.

He thinks commuters will be more likely to be using the new platform by this coming Christmas.

The project got off to a slow start, with plenty of pauses, Gentile said, while the Manafort construction company became more accustomed to the work. Now that they have, the pace should continue to moving at a good clip, he said.

According to a town DPW report Gentile gave to the Board of Selectmen before Tuesday mornings town government department heads meeting with the board, the fourth phase of the project, covering the platform around the station building and the northern (Heights Road-side) entrance to the pedestrian bridge, should be starting by Aug. 1. It’s the last of the four phases of the project and covers roughly a quarter of the platform space.

As that part of the platform is replaced, commuters and other train riders will still get full access to the building and the bridge, according to the report.

When Gentile stood before the board, Selectman Kip Koons asked for an update on the station project.

“Which part?” Gentile asked. (Gentile has also been working on plans for drainage and other improvements at the station).

“The part that’s so slow,” Koons said. The audience, made up almost entirely of other department heads, laughed.

“They’re holding to their schedule, as to what they’ll put out to the public,” Gentile said, apparently referring to either the state DOT managers of the project. “They are a little bit ahead on that. They stretched that out. They took some liberties with those dates.

“They’re going to be taking out that platform in front of the train station really soon, and once that starts to go, you’ll see them move quickly,” he continued. “I’m hoping by Christmas that they’re done.”

DOT NH 11

This aerial view shows the various stages of the replacement project, which started with the orange segment and finishes with the yellow one.

 

The project has been done in four phases, ripping up a quarter of the old platforms and replacing that quarter in each phase.

After having trouble with the first phase, Gentile said, “the next two phases, you could see they had vast improvements in ordering material, scheduling, knowing what they had to do. They had a rhythm. Hopefully, they’ll bring that over to the fourth phase.”

According to the town DPW quarterly report to the Board of Selectmen, the project, which began in March 2017, is run and paid for entirely by the state (which owns the station and allows the town to run parking operations and maintain it).

The report, which is not dated, states: “Section 2 [in the southwest corner, and where the south end of the bridge is located] is scheduled to be re-opened for use on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. Section 4, which is the most used section due to location of the railroad station building, is scheduled to be taken out of service in early August 2018 […] Access to train station building and pedestrian overpass will be uninterrupted throughout the project.”

The town Department of Public Works has someone attending weekly meetings with representatives of the Transportation Department and the contractor.

In the next six months, according to the DPW report, the department is doing this planning and work to improve the station:

–“Continue working on the drainage plan for the Noroton Heights parking area […]”

–“Parking lot guide rail improvements”

— “Sidewalk improvements (near Post 53)”

–“Noroton Heights Railroad Station design concept RFP [request for proposals from architects]”

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See also Darienite.com’s past coverage about the station and the project:

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