Amtrak expansion plan would go through heart of Old Lyme's histo - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Amtrak expansion plan would go through heart of Old Lyme's historic district

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OLD LYME, CT (WFSB) -

The Federal Rail Administration wants to spend billions to re-route the northeast corridor right through the heart of the Old Lyme's historic district. However, Eyewitness News found out not everyone is on-board with this plan.

The Federal Rail Administration wants to rebuild the tracks in that area.In the process, they could use eminent domain and take people's property to do it. 

The Federal Rail administration wants to replace the bridge over the Connecticut River from Old Saybrook to Old Lyme. Their plan is now is to go diagonally over the Connecticut River to Old Lyme, just north of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.

The plan also cuts through the heart of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts that sits in the heart of Old Lyme's historic district.

"In our opinion, it may not have been as well thought out as some of the other alternatives and would really destroy our campus,” Todd Jokl, who is a dean at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, said.

The Federal Rail Administration's 150 foot wide rail proposal would go right through the center of Sands Drive and force homeowners to relocate. The project is targeted for completion in 2040.

Lawrence Merrill, who would lose his house, asked what the plan would do to the eco system when they cross the river on an angle instead of going straight across it. 

Old Lyme First Selectman Bonnie Reemsnyder said the community was blindsided by the plan. 

The Federal Rail administration had planned to stop taking in comments at the end of January, but extended that window to Feb. 15.

Many including Reemsnyder said they doubt that this project will ever move forward in our lifetime.

"You're correct not in our lifetime, but I'm a new grandmother and it will impact my grandson,” Reemsnyder said.

Town leaders say this is not the end of the line for this project.

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