Working to protect, preserve and enhance this historic Connecticut roadway through education, advocacy and partnership

Main Avenue/Route 7 Interchange

U.S. District Ruling in Favor of Merritt Parkway
On March 31, 2006, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled in favor of the Merritt Parkway Conservancy in a lawsuit filed against the Federal Highway Administration and Connecticut Department of Transportation to halt construction of the Main Avenue interchange in Norwalk. The court ruled the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and CT DOT had failed to explore "all possible planning to minimize harm" to the historic Parkway as required by Section 4(f) of the Department Transportation Act 1966.

The Merritt Parkway Conservancy, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Sierra Club, Norwalk Land Trust, Norwalk River Watershed Association, Norwalk Preservation Trust and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation filed suit in June 2005 to block construction of the Route 7/Main Avenue interchange after the DOT rejected alternatives to the current plan. The $100 million dollar project included elevated ramps above the Merritt, destruction of four historic bridges, altering the landscape, and causing irreversible damage to the historic character of the Merritt.

In August 2006, Governor Rell, in a letter released to the public, instructed her newly appointed Commissioner of Transportation to meet with MPC to review alternative interchange plans and move the project forward. A series stakeholder meetings concluded with a new design of the Route 7/Main Avenue interchanges in a context design that will less significantly alter or deface the character of the Parkway.

To view the filed suit please click here.

Meeting reports can be found at

Photographs courtesy of Eric Seplowitz and the Historic American Building Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER).

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