Exit 2 on Route 34 closes forever tonight

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The way drivers get into Downtown New Haven on Route 34 from I-95 and I-91 will dramatically change Tuesday morning. Exit 2 is closing for good.

This is the last of three traffic changes scheduled this summer as part of the New Haven Downtown Crossing project.

LINK: Construction Update from ConnDOT (.pdf)

If your commute takes you on Route 34 in New Haven, change is coming. Whether you know it or not.

Tim Velez, of Wallingford, didn’t know what was happening Tuesday. When asked what he’s going to do, Velez said, “I guess I’m going to have to go around.”

When another driver was told they were going to have to get off at Exit 1 or take a different Route, they replied “that’s not nice.”

Monday was the last morning anyone will ever be able to do this, take exit two off Route 34 at College Street. The reason, more high tech buildings will go up where Route 34 used to be.

“We just don’t have enough lab space and enough space for jobs coming into New Haven and we need to make space for people who are going to be paying property taxes and living and working and doing a lot of fun here,” said Doug Hausladen, New Haven Transportation Director.

By Tuesday morning all traffic will have to get off at exit one. You can take a right on Orange Street and head towards downtown, or keep going a little further to the traffic light at Church Street right by the Knights of Columbus Building.

If there’s going to be a choke point, it will be at Church Street. To try to alleviate that traffic, they’ve widened the ramp to 1,2,3,4,5 lanes. The question is – will it be enough?

“We’ve been documenting how much of a backup it’s been already. so we’re trying to make sure before and after how it’s improved for folks. What we really know is this is going to normalize traffic patterns in the corridor and really help people have a predictable commute in the morning,” said Hausladen.

But drivers like Dave the UPS guy have their own predictions about how traffic will be when exit two closes.

“Horrible. Especially with a community college right here,” said Dave Baker. “Just take the other way around. That’s my job.”

And to get to your job, start planning alternatives.

“I’m going to get off at one,” said Audrey Stella. When asked how bad she thinks that traffic is going to be, Stella said, “I think it’s going to be pretty bad. I’m going to start very early.”

News 8 does have a secret back door tip that could get you to work faster. Instead of taking Route 34, go up to Exit 3 of I-91. From 95, you just get on 91 for a minute. Get off at Exit 3 which is Trumbull Street, The City is banning cars from parking on Trumbull during the morning rush so you’ll have two travel lanes going straight, then turn left on Temple or Prospect to get to downtown New Haven.

ConnDOT map shows new traffic pattern off Exit 1 from Route 34 in New Haven. (Image: ConnDOT).
ConnDOT map shows new traffic pattern off Exit 1 from Route 34 in New Haven. (Image: ConnDOT).
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