Norwalk Bridge Fails For Second Time; Causes Delays On Metro-North, Amtrak Trains
NORWALK, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Metro-North and Amtrak train service in Connecticut was disrupted for the second time in two weeks by a bridge failure in Norwalk Friday afternoon.
Commuters and elected officials were furious, particularly given that the bridge has now failed twice.
Gov. Dannel Malloy called for a crisis summit with Metro-North and the MTA over the failure, TV 10/55’s Lou Young reported.
Officials with Metro-North said the tracks were closed to train traffic in both directions in South Norwalk Friday afternoon because the rotating Walk Bridge got stuck again in the open position, which allows boats to pass through along the Norwalk River.
The swing bridge opened up for marine traffic around 3 p.m. and failed to close properly.
As WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported, Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said teams of workers were sent to the scene to get the bridge properly aligned. But the process took time.
During the evening rush, no trains could get across the bridge, which had opened up to let a barge pass and did not lock afterward.
As CBS 2’s Joe Biermann reported from Chopper 2, commuters were boarding buses to take them to the East Norwalk station from the South Norwalk station.
Commuters in South Norwalk who spoke with TV 10/55’s Young expressed frustration.
“They should probably just close it and fix it that way this won’t happen and inconvenience people,” said Fairfield resident Francesca Simmoncelli.
“We got on at Grand Central and got off at South Norwalk. We were on the train for about an hour and a half (and you’re not done yet?) No!” said Mary & Samantha Hilt, of Milford.
“It’s a 118-year-old bridge. It’s been broke before; It’s been stuck before. They should re-do it. (until they re-do it should they keep it closed?) I think they should keep it closed,” said Woodbridge resident Les Rosenbaum.
Commuters also took to social media to vent their frustration, many tweeting pictures showing large crowds waiting for buses.
By 6:45 p.m., limited service had resumed through South Norwalk, with two of four tracks reopened and limited to speeds of 1 mph.
The problem with the bridge also halted Amtrak service between New Haven and New York City. The service had resumed by 7 p.m., but residual delays persisted.
As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, Amtrak passengers found themselves stuck at Penn Station, and they were not happy about it.
“Tired, I’m sorry, it’s been a long week – not really in the mood,” a woman said.
Two men, Greg and Anthony, were headed back to their old stomping grounds at the University of Delaware. They had two cans of beer in hand to make up for lost time.
“We might have an alumni reunion right here at Penn Station,” one of the man said.
Another called Amtrak “the worst thing in the world.”
The century-old bridge in Norwalk also got stuck in the open position on May 29 and snarled travel for thousands of commuters during the morning rush. Connecticut officials said the cause was a gear failure.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) was furious that the bridge was allowed to fail again.
“This second, catastrophic failure is simply a failure too far for a bridge that needs corrective remedies as soon as possible, so the congressional delegation from New York and Connecticut need to unite and fight for federal funds to remedy and correct these chronic failings in a bridge that is necessary for adequate traffic,” Blumenthal said.
He said it was a serious problem that rail and road traffic were stalled and snagged in the middle of a time as busy as the Friday afternoon rush.
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