State to undertake highway projects to help frustrated commuters

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH)–Even in the middle of the day, there’s a lot of traffic on the section of Interstate 84 by the mall in Waterbury.

But in drive-time, it’s a twice daily nightmare of backups and delays.

“It’s backed up sometimes for hours and for miles,” said Bristol native Dean Gusty. “It goes all the way back into Southington actually, it makes the commute hard for a lot of people.”

That’s because the highway east of here was widened almost a decade ago, so one section becomes a bottleneck everyday.

The plan to widen this part of the highway has been postponed for nearly ten years.

“We’re putting our money where our mouth is,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy. “If you want infrastructure in Connecticut, you’re about to see it under construction.”

The Governor announced Tuesday that the $400 million project will finally get underway this year with matching money from the federal government.

“This project is the lifeblood of the continued improvement of economic development opportunities here in the city of Waterbury and quite frankly, quality of life issues,” said Waterbury mayor Neil O’Leary.

“Recently, I was talking with one of the local business owners and he figures that his drivers spend and hour a day stuck, right out here,” said Representative Elizabeth Esty.

The $3 billion in projects announced today included planning for the replacement of the elevated section of Interstate 84 through downtown Hartford.

It’s known, because of it’s proximity to the insurance company, as the ‘Aetna Viaduct.’

Plus, the completion of the rebuilding of the Q-Bridge and interstate 95 and 91 interchange in New Haven.

In addition to the massive Waterbury, Hartford and New Haven projects, the plan includes the long overdue replacement of the Moses Wheeler bridge on I-95 in Stratford.

It also includes rehab for the route 3 Putnam Bridge in Glastonbury, rehab for the Merritt in Stamford. and operational improvements for I-95 in Norwalk.

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