Big change for commuters: I-95 divide to be removed in New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– A big change is coming for commuters who take I-95 through New Haven and West Haven. The southbound traffic split that has caused so many problems will end in a few days.

That highway divide is along interstate 95 at the Howard Avenue bridge in New Haven, often a cause for confusion and traffic backups.

Folks who drive I-95 South have probably been cursing this. Afternoon rush hour is the worst time. The right lane disappears, and you’re down to three lanes, then the right lanes veers off, confusing a lot of drivers. The reason is, the DOT has been building a bridge to the right as you head south, meaning traffic had to shift left.

Related: Connecticut DOT announces next Interstate 95 lane shifts

Trouble is, the support pier for the Howard Avenue over pass is right in the way so traffic has to go to either side of it, and a lot of drivers get confused right there and think they’re in an exit lane, so they suddenly try to cut over to the left causing accidents and delays. Even Department of Transportation assistant district engineer Domenic LaRosa knows the setup has not been ideal.

“The split is never a desireable configuration,” LaRosa said. “I mean, you do it when you have to do it, and we had to because of restrictive work zone areas, but the sooner we could get out of it the better.”

It gets better this coming weekend. The new southbound bridge over the West River is ready for traffic, and this Friday they will begin to shift traffic on to it. That will cause some trouble Friday night. Southbound on ramps from Route 34 and Sargent Drive will be closed and detoured, as will the on-ramp from Kimberly Avenue.

They think those will re-open by Saturday morning.The left lane will still be closed all day Saturday, but everything should be kind of back to normal for the start of the work week.

Related: Under construction: I-95 in New Haven/West Haven has drivers frustrated

“By Monday morning, everything will be in its final alignment, well, temporary final alignment, onto the new structure. There will be no more split, so traffic should flow a lot better,” said LaRosa.

From underneath the bridge you see why it is not the final, final alignment. There are really three bridges. New ones have been built on either side, but the old one in the middle is the one carrying southbound traffic right now. It still has to be knocked down and replaced.

(Detour map provided by Connecticut Department of Transportation)
(Detour map provided by Connecticut Department of Transportation)
(Detour map provided by Connecticut Department of Transportation)
(Detour map provided by Connecticut Department of Transportation)


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