NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Outdated electric, water issues and chunks of concrete crashing down on the roadway. The Heroes Tunnel on Route 15 in New Haven needs some serious renovations.
“There’s lots of challenges here. It’s the only tunnel. There’s a state park up on top of the ridge that makes it more complicated to deal with, but we’re gonna work hard on it,” said Mark Rolfe, the Chief Engineer with the CT Department of Transportation.
Still in the design phase, Governor Malloy says there is talk about shutting down one side while the other is renovated. With 71,000 cars a day passing through it, Malloy says the preferred idea being tossed around is to blast a temporary third tube through West Rock, keeping four lanes of traffic moving through most of the work.
“The idea that we would potentially have to close a tunnel at a time, just, anybody who uses this complex or would understand the traffic that would shift to 95, it’s a scary proposition,” said Malloy.
Either way, making sure the money is there to do it is now a top priority for the Malloy administration in their final 18 months in office.
“We’re gonna spend the money necessary to have future administrations in place to move ahead with this project. This is a vital project,” said Malloy.
On Wednesday, Malloy and other local politicians are called for support of an amendment to the Constitution that would implement a lock box on all transportation funding. It passed in the General Assembly earlier this year and will be up for public vote in the 2018 election.
“It’s time for us to invest in transportation. It puts people to work, it grows jobs and it grows this economy and I wholeheartedly support this transportation lock box,” said Senator Bob Duff, (D-Norwalk-Darien)
Those sentiments echoed by many who drive through the tunnel on a regular basis.
“I think our roads are horrendous. You know, when you travel in other states and what not it’s just outright a huge, huge difference,” said Bob Healey of New Haven.
Officials hope the design phase is completed within a year or two and construction can begin in 2021.