HARTFORD, CT - Governor Ned Lamont on Friday said that he is determined to fix notorious problem areas of traffic congestion in Connecticut, pointing to Exit 29 on I-91 northbound in Hartford as a prime example of a situation that is finally on its way to being fixed after nearly four decades of causing drivers too many hours of headaches and congestion.
Last week, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) launched a “congestion-buster project” strategically targeted at alleviating the backups that have become all too common on the area of the interstate. Considered to be one of the worst bottlenecks in the country, the exit ramp connects drivers through a single lane of traffic over the Charter Oak Bridge, leading to Routes 5 and 15, and I-84. Due to a combination of factors, traffic at the exit ramp frequently backs up onto I-91 for more than a mile or more. The condition is exacerbated by the tendency of drivers to cut into the right-lane queue from the center lane, drastically reducing the capacity of the center lane and blocking traffic on I-91.
The CTDOT project involves relocation and construction of a new, two-lane exit ramp that will double the capacity and improve the geometry of the connector, relieving the bottleneck.
Governor Lamont said more alleviation projects like this could be started elsewhere around the state if a consistent, stable source of revenue is implemented. Budget analysts have warned that the gasoline tax, which serves as the primary source of funding for the state’s transportation system, is in serious decline signaling that Connecticut’s transportation fund – along with a number of other states throughout the country – is on track to become insolvent.
On Thursday, Governor Lamont wrote a letter to the members of the Connecticut General Assembly urging for immediate action on putting forth a new combined transportation bill.
“The people of Connecticut are sick and tired of sitting in traffic on outdated roadways that cannot handle the capacity of a 21st century transit system,” Governor Lamont said. “Let’s give our state modernized infrastructure that expands our ability to grow and compete. Connecticut needs a long-term solution to fix the 30-year patchwork that has left our state with a gaping fiscal hole that needs to be fixed. If this was an easy choice, it would have been made decades ago – we were elected to make the tough decisions that will move our state forward, and now is the time do to that.”
I-91 Northbound/Charter Oak Bridge Exit 29 Congestion-Buster Project
Work on the congestion-buster project started earlier last week and is anticipated to be completed before the start of summer in 2022.
The project entails:
· Widening of northbound I-91 from Exit 27 to Exit 29 for approximately 5,700 feet to allow for the installation of an additional travel lane. This requires the widening of the bridges over Route 15, the Airport Road on-ramp and Airport Road, as well as the lowering of the roads below all three bridges to allow for adequate overhead clearances.
· Construction of a new two-lane exit ramp from northbound I-91 to the Charter Oak Bridge including: construction of one new bridge, widening the portion of the northbound Charter Oak Bridge over I-91 to accommodate four northbound travel lanes, and eventually, the removal of the existing single-lane ramp from I-91 northbound to the Charter Oak Bridge.
· Installation of new lane markings on the new Exit 29 on-ramp and on the Charter Oak Bridge to accommodate 4 travel lanes (2 lanes from the new on-ramp and two from Route 5/15).
· Widening of northbound Route 15 to add an additional lane from the Charter Oak Bridge to the Silver Lane underpass in East Hartford, as well as the widening of the bridges over Main Street and Silver Lane.
· Improvements to extend the service life of the pavement and bridges (milling, paving and subsurface concrete repairs) on I-91 north and south between the Elm Street overpass in Wethersfield and the new Exit 29 off-ramp in Hartford, drainage system upgrades, and guiderail upgrades to meet current standards.
For continuous updates on the project, residents are urged to visit www.I-91CharterOakBridge.com, where the latest information about work activities and any expected impacts to the public will be posted. Updates will also be made via Twitter at @91Oak.