NORWALK, Conn. (AP) — A railroad swing bridge over the Norwalk River became stuck in the open position for five hours Thursday morning, causing major delays for rail travelers in Connecticut.
The Walk Bridge, which rotates to allow large boats on the river to pass, failed to close just after 4 a.m., said Meredith Daniels, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates Metro-North Railroad.
"It's a 117-year old bridge, and they are having problems with the gears and wedges on it," she said.
Trains were stopped at various points along the line, and the railroad ran limited shuttle bus service between East Norwalk and South Norwalk, while crews worked to close the bridge.
The railroad was force to suspend eastbound service from Stamford, while only limited westbound trains were available from South Norwalk, Daniels said. The problem also caused delays on Amtrak, which uses the Metro-North tracks.
The repairs were completed just before 9 a.m. Delays of more than an hour were reported during the morning rush hour, and normal service was not expected for several hours as trains that had been stopped made their way through the area.
The swing bridge was built in 1896, and Daniels said it has been the source of problems in the past.
"Sometimes these things take an hour and a half to fix, sometimes they take hours," she said.
In April, the state applied for $349 million in federal transportation funding to help replace the bridge. The request was part of a $600 million grant request to improve Connecticut's aging rail infrastructure.
Andrew Doba, a spokesman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, said in an email Thursday that the governor believes "federal investment along the entire Northeast rail corridor is long overdue."
State Sen. Toni Boucher, the ranking Republican on the legislature's Transportation Committee, criticized Metro-North for reacting to problems "rather than proactively assessing infrastructure needs on a regular basis."