Description: Challenge to environmental review for railroad bridge replacement project in Norwalk, Connecticut, alleging failure to conduct adequate resiliency analysis.
Norwalk Harbor Keeper v. U.S. Department of Transportation
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/08/2019 Order Download Defendants' motions for summary judgment granted. Connecticut Federal Court Said Resiliency Concerns Did Not Require Further Attention to Bridge Alternatives. The federal district court for the District of Connecticut granted summary judgment to federal and state transportation agencies and officials in a lawsuit challenging the environmental review for a bridge replacement project in Norwalk, Connecticut. The court was not persuaded by the plaintiffs’ arguments that the defendants had failed to consider the resiliency benefits of a fixed bridge alternative. The court said the decision not to move forward with the fixed bridge options was reasonable and that resiliency considerations did not create a requirement that the defendants consider a low-level fixed bridge option. 01/18/2018 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Filed Challenging Resiliency Analysis for Railroad Bridge in Connecticut. A local conservation organization filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Connecticut challenging the environmental review pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act for the Norwalk River Railroad Bridge replacement project in Norwalk, Connecticut. The organization contended that the defendant agencies had failed to consider the reasonable alternative of a fixed bridge at the level of the existing swing bridge. The organization alleged that the fixed bridge alternative would promote resiliency to climate change and severe weather events, and particularly to heatwaves, which the complaint alleged could cause rail tracks to expand, buckle, and warp and potentially prevent proper closure of the bridge and lead to the need for track repairs and speed restrictions. The organization asserted that although the environmental assessment (EA) for the project recognized resiliency to climate change and severe weather events as a “critical parameter” for evaluation of design alternatives, the EA had failed “to follow through with an adequate resiliency analysis.” The complaint also alleged that the project’s funding through a post-Superstorm Sandy grant program could be placed in jeopardy if the project was found not to advance the grant program’s public transit resiliency priorities.