The Niantic River Railroad Bridge Replacement Project

The Niantic River Railroad Bridge replacement project is moving forward. Amtrak's public statement and it proposed project description of June 16, 2009, is presented below. All subsequent documents are linked from the column on the right of this page.

The State of Connecticut's Notice of Tentative Determination of September 8, 2009, and comments sent to the state by the East Lyme Public Trust Foundation follow the Amtrak project application, which is part of the state's notice. Following our letter, the Public Notice by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of September 8, 2009 is provided. Our comments on that notice will be published here as soon as they are submitted to the Corps.

Amtrak Makes a Public Commitment of Its Work Program to Replace the Niantic River Railroad Bridge and to Consequently Re-Install an Enhanced Niantic Bay Boardwalk
At its first public Information Meeting concerning the final stage of Niantic Railroad Bridge replacement, Amtrak representatives committed to the particulars of its project at a Camp Rell meeting on June 16, 2009.  The project will have very significant impacts on the Niantic Bay Boardwalk (a.k.a. Niantic Bay Overlook).  In summary of those Amtrak commitments, and in light of the required federal and state permit process of which we are aware, the following major conditions pertain:
1. Amtrak will begin project construction to complete the replacement of the bridge and to reinstall the new Goat Path East and the Boardwalk proper in September of 2009, planning to conclude that construction within 2 to 4 years, when the Overlook Park will reopen to public use.
2. During construction, the elevated portion of the Boardwalk, and the Goat Path East (a total of  about 2,607 feet) will be closed to the public.  The Goat Path West will not be closed.  However, note that the Town of East Lyme continues its efforts to resolve a mediated settlement with the designers and constructors of the Overlook in order for them to correct the faulty design of that western portion of the Overlook.  Their flawed design of the Goat Path West resulted in storm damage which continues substantially unabated.  The resolution of that problem has nothing to do with Amtrak nor with bridge replacement or associated boardwalk and beach enhancement tasks.
3.  Once the Amtrak project is completed, the main features of its Boardwalk-related aspects will include:

a) Access to the Boardwalk and its associated sandy beach by a new passageway under the new bridge that will be wide enough for emergency vehicles to pass from Cini Park to the beach and walkway.

b)  The existing elevated Boardwalk will be removed and redesigned/reconstructed as a concrete walkway along the oceanside railroad elevated embankment.  The walkway will be placed on a step in a new retaining wall that will protect the walkway from storm damage to a much greater extent than is presently the case.  The walkway will be the same length and width as is presently the case. A cross section of this feature appears on Slide 15 of the accompanying Amtrak PowerPoint presentation.  The Foundation will work with the Town, the state and federal regulatory agencies, and Amtrak to attach to the surface of the concrete walkway an appropriate walking/running surface, such as is used on synthetic track surfaces of athletic fields.

c)  Stair and ramp access to the sandy beach will essentially remain as they are today.

d)  A stone groin will be constructed at the eastern end of the walkway, extending approximately 230 feet long and 10 feet wide on its top parallel to the river entrance channel; a structure that will trap sand moving along the existing beach from west to east and will thus enlarge and stabilize the beach along the Bar.
e) The 103 memorial benches and the more than 1,300 memorial plaques will be moved out of harms way by Amtrak for the duration of construction after which they will each be returned to there original position along the Overlook. The location of each memorial has been documented by the Foundation, which information will be given to both the Town and Amtrak during the final project design period.

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Amtrak Makes a Public Commitment of Its Work Program to Replace the Niantic River Railroad Bridge

Modified Coastal Consistency DEP Permit Comments from ELPTF
October 2010

Revised and expanded Amtrak Project Presentation August 2010 (pdf 1.4mb)

View/Download Amtrak Presentation
(pdf 1mb)

CT Notice of Tentative Determination

East Lyme Public Trust Foundation Comments 9/21/09

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Notice 9/8/09

East Lyme Public Trust Foundation Comments 9/28/09

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Permit 12/16/09

Final FONSI June 2002 (pdf 41mb)

Initial Final Environmental Impact Statement May 1979 (pdf 6 mb)

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