Malloy: Mixmaster must be replaced

- FILE - The Waterbury mixmaster, where I-84 and Route 8 interchange (Photo: CT DOT)

HARTFORD & WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The Mixmaster in Waterbury has to come down, Governor Malloy said Tuesday.

It comes as the first spending of the Governor’s massive, 30-year transportation plan approved by the State Bonding Commission.

Just as the big I-95/I-91 interchange project in New Haven is nearing completion, more massive projects like it are now in the pipeline. It will be unclear how we’re going to pay for all of it until sometime after Labor Day, when a special commission makes its recommendations.

A partial funding method is in place. Starting July 1st, every time someone buys something, one-half a penny of the sales tax goes to pay for transportation improvements. In this first $25 million bundle will be money to design and engineer a replacement for the I-84/Route 8 interchange. It will be shored up for safety in the near future, but it cannot be permanently repaired.

“The reality is that all early work indicates that it must be replaced,” said the Governor following the Bonding Commission vote. He says that replacement project is expected to take years and cost upward of $10 billion.

The Mixmaster is one of the most complicated systems of highway ramps in the state, and some say it’s the scariest.

“What we’ve done today is accelerate the design of that Route 8 particular ramp system, which needs to be accelerated,” said Connecticut D.O.T. Commissioner James Redeker.

But with the current widening project of I-84 on the east side of Waterbury expected to last five years, most drivers won’t be hitting the accelerator very much for a long time.

Tuesday’s approval also gives the green light for designing and engineering a new I-91/I-691/Route 15 interchange in Meriden and for widening I-84 coming into the state from New York. The planning money also includes ways to expand rapid transit bus service east of Hartford, and from Norwalk to Stamford.

Another neat thing has also now been funded: a GPS system for buses that will eventually allow you to find any bus in the system with an app on your phone.

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