Residents blame Westport boater for rush hour traffic over moveable bridge

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That boater is Robbie Guimond. That boater is Robbie Guimond.

Westport residents have taken to a popular town blog to criticize the frequent opening of the William Cribari Bridge -- backing up traffic unnecessarily, according to some.

According to the Westport harbor master, boaters have the right to schedule an opening of the bridge. Residents say it should only move a little over a dozen times a year, but recently it's several times a week.

Commenters on the 06880 blog say the same boater has had the bridge opened once or twice a day over the past several weeks -- often during rush hour.

That boater is Robbie Guimond. He says the bridge should sit permanently higher to give more clearance without having to open it up.

"First and foremost, I believe the river is being choked by the bridge," he says. "It prevents access from 90 percent of the boats with simple things like T-tops. And I also believe it's a safety issue."

Guimond says he enjoys taking his family out but often has business to conduct on the other side of the bridge.

It takes several people from the Department of Transportation and a few police officers to part it. And drivers can't cross until it closes again.

"It really causes a big congestion problem," says James Connaughton, a Westport resident.

Cory Crochetiere, of All Seasons Marine Works, says responsible boaters can plan their trips under the bridge to coincide with the tide and avoid hassling drivers above.

"We just wait until the correct tide," he says. "You can pretty much get any boat you want underneath the bridge."

The historic bridge is among the only ways to pass over the river without taking Interstate 95 or driving through downtown. 

It's narrow, and traffic can back up -- especially when Department of Transportation officials and police are called to open it for watercraft.
"Just don't leave at a dead high tide when your boat doesn't fit under the bridge," Crochetiere says. "It's pretty simple."

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