The governor’s office has given the green light to highway changes in Meriden.
Gov. Dannel Malloy met with transportation officials near Interstates 91, 691 and Route 15 to announce a redesign for the interchange.
He held a news conference Monday afternoon during which he called it one of the most complex and congested interchanges in the state.
"It’s about time the state stepped up to fix this situation,” Malloy said. “For too long, we underinvested in transportation."
Malloy said some 195,000 vehicles travel through the interchange every day. Between 2012 and 2014, he said there were 963 crashes in the area.
One to two mile backups were not uncommon.
“Every year, Connecticut commuters waste over 40 hours sitting in traffic, losing over $4 billion in productivity,” he said. “The success of our economy hinges on our work to transform transportation, and this complicated interchange in Meriden for too many years caused a bottleneck, resulting in all too frequent traffic jams, back-ups, accidents, and wasted time for many drivers. It's time to act."
The governor said late last month, the State Bond Commission approved $1 million for the state Department of Transportation to begin design work to reconfigure the interchange.
The DOT will look at reconfiguring the travel lanes and ramps between I-91 and Route 15 northbound. They’ll also consider adding a lane to I-91 and a second southbound off-ramp lane from I-91 to Route 15 southbound.
They could eliminate the I-91 southbound weave of vehicle changes to Route 15 southbound and combine the entrances to I-91 south from I-691 and Route 15.
A new lane may be added to I-91 north between exits 15 and 20.
"These improvements will provide a higher level of traffic operations along this section of I-91, and enhance safety and reduce the number of accidents as vehicles transition among these three roadways in central Connecticut," said James P. Redeker, commissioner of the CT DOT.
The estimated total cost for the project was estimated at $90 million.
No timeline for completion was given, but Malloy said it would be a minimum of five years from design through construction.
The project is part of Malloy’s 30-year “Let’s Go CT” transportation vision.
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