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Safety, reconnected neighborhoods among priorities for Hartford highway plans

FILE- Traffic through the Hartford Tunnel on I-84.
Tyler Russell
Connecticut Public
FILE- Traffic through the Hartford Tunnel on I-84.

Big changes could be coming to highway infrastructure in and around Connecticut’s capital city.

Appearing on Connecticut Public’s Where We Live, state Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto outlined several facets of the Greater Hartford Mobility Study, a comprehensive proposal for all things transportation in and around the city.

Among the priorities for the future of transportation in the area is a reworking of Interstates 84 and 91.

The stretch of I-84 running through Hartford is among the most crash-prone corridors in all of Connecticut, Eucalitto said.

“And it’s largely because that section of the highway was built for and designed for only about 75-thousand vehicles per day,” Eucalitto said. “We’re seeing 175-thousand vehicles per day pass through that corridor. It’s just not built to carry that much traffic.”

Another reason to rethink the highways’ design, the commissioner said, is to repair harm caused to neighborhoods by construction in the 1960s and 70s.

“I want us to undo the damage that was done to Hartford with I-84, so that really is our north star,” Eucalitto said. “If we can achieve that, if we can lower the highway, reconnect the city, free up 200 acres of land between Hartford and East Hartford for redevelopment, for green space.”

Plans are expected to take decades to design and build, if approved, with a price tag in the billions.

Chris Polansky joined Connecticut Public in March 2023 as a general assignment and breaking news reporter based in Hartford. Previously, he’s worked at Utah Public Radio in Logan, Utah, as a general assignment reporter; Lehigh Valley Public Media in Bethlehem, Pa., as an anchor and producer for All Things Considered; and at Public Radio Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla., where he both reported and hosted Morning Edition.

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