It's hard to imagine, but the messy commute through Waterbury may only get worse over the next several years.
On Monday, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat, discussed the reconstruction of the mixmaster, the interchange where Interstate 84 and Route 8 meet.
Construction is expected to get underway next year.
According to the Department of Transportation, the mixmaster sees about 150,000 vehicles a day, which is three times the amount it first carried when it was built in the 1960s. State officials said the wear and tear has caught up with it and a massive overhaul is long overdue.
The project will make repairs to ten different bridges and ramps that are part of the interchange. The cost is expected to be in the billions.
"At the same time we're starting the replacement project, we have to do immediate and serious interim rehabilitation, so this year we'll be putting out to bid about $200 million of repairs to ten bridges that are part of this facility, to and from Route 8," said DOT Commissioner James Redeker.
Redecker says short-term gains include thousands of jobs, with the long-term potential for economic growth.
The big question is how to pay for it all.
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, who sits on the transportation committee, said not only will it be state money and bonds, but federal funding as well.
"Fixing the mix master is going to be critical, not just for Waterbury and the region, but everyone who travels through the northeast,” Esty said.
Redeker says there is no timetable, they're just starting this and while they're years away he says starting this year, they will begin the public process of starting the conceptual design and getting input.
The construction going on now on I-84 in Waterbury is moving along months ahead of schedule, officials said. Most of the work is expected to completed in about two years.
The project is widening a three-mile stretch of the interstate by adding a third lane in both directions.
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