FAIRFIELD -- With winter already leaving its calling cards of snow and ice, the installation of canopies over the stairwells at the downtown railroad station couldn't be more timely.

The metal canopies -- work on the project started Wednesday -- will cover the stairs from the station's passenger platforms to Unquowa Road and a portion of the sidewalk on Unquowa Road, as well.

The project was paid for with a Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant from the state.

Work on the canopies is being done between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to avoid peak commuting hours. The canopies are assembled off site and it is expected it will take about a week to complete the project.

Once the canopies are in place, lighting will be installed. It should take another six days to finish that work, according to town officials.

Public Works Superintendent Scott Bartlett said the canopies will not only provide protection to rail passengers during inclement weather, but will help protect the stairs themselves, since harsh chemicals will not have to be used to keep them clear of ice.

The project also includes some repairs to the concrete steps.

Replacement of the brick patio on the New Haven-bound side of the station was recently completed. That project was paid for with $20,000 from the Parking Authority.