A nice drive on Connecticut’s Merritt Parkway

The Merrit Parkway is a scenic road in Fairfield County, Connecticut, just outside of New York City . It was planned in the 1930s to be a parkway that had unique overpass bridges with contemporary architectural details: art deco, modern, and neo-classical. It is an example of how DOT bridges can be designed thoughtfully with attention to detail on the columns and the spans, not always adhering to the one-size-fits-all model.

Merritt Parkway bridge 1Architect George L. Dunkelberger designed the original bridges. Some of them are limestone, while some are rough stone. Some are steel spans yet, together, they make the composition that is the Merritt Parkway. None of the original bridges are alike. At points, they appear to reach from one side of the forest to another. The parkway as a whole is narrow, but the setting provides comfort, especially the parts covered by tree canopies. The signage was completely redone in 2001.

It feels good to be on this road. The only other road that is similar is the George Washington Parkway in Alexandria, Virginia. It, too, is wooded and lacks the sterile feeling of simple concrete and steel bridge architecture. There, however, most of the overpass bridges are made of stone, giving a more rustic feeling than the Merritt Parkway provides.

Merritt Parkway bridge 2

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