Blasting intermittently closes I-95 in East Lyme

Sign up for text alerts on the project’s website
Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 10:15 AM EDT|Updated: 3 hours ago
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EAST LYME, CT (WFSB) - Ledge blasting is causing intermittent closures twice a day on Interstate 95 in East Lyme.

Drivers can sign up for text message alerts of blasting operations on the project’s website,

For Sept. 25, the state Department of Transportation said there would be one blast. It was set for between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Both sides of I-95 will be closed during that span of time.

The DOT started the periodic closures on Aug. 1.

The blasting was scheduled to take place Monday through Thursday for a period of 6 to 8 weeks. It will not happen on Fridays.

Intermittent closures of I-95 will happen for ledge blasting starting on Aug. 1.
Intermittent closures of I-95 will happen for ledge blasting starting on Aug. 1.(

“As a result, I-95 northbound and southbound will be closed twice a day between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for 15 minutes for each blast,” the I-95 East Lyme Project announced. “Please know that every effort will be made to keep the these temporary highway closures to the shortest duration possible.”

The DOT noted that the start of this closure could change based on weather or other factors.

Detours included:

  • I-95 north: Take Exit 74 and continue on Route 161 north (which turns into Route 1), turn left on to Cross Road, turn left on to Waterford Parkway, and take entrance ramp back on to I-95 north.
  • I-95 south: Take Exit 75, follow Route 1 to Route 161 south to access the I-95 southbound entrance ramp.

“Because this work is so technical, so specialized and so dependent on conditions in the moment, we could only give a 30 minute window of when the operation is going to happen. If people head to I-95EASTLYME.COM, they can sign up for text alerts to receive that 30 minutes heads up,” said Josh Morgan with the DOT.

“[It] has just been so busy: People rushing on the highways, speeding, cutting through lanes,” said Mark Cofrancesco, of Plainville.

Cofrancesco took I-95 to get his family to the beach last week, but he may soon have to find a different route.

“We plan for the worst scenarios, but we certainly hope for the best,” said Robert Obey, resident engineer for GM2 Associates. “We have about 30,000 yards of rock to remove.”

Rock on the northbound side will be blasted to make room for new lanes.

“Everything we do is to minimize that risk of putting debris onto the highway,” Obey said.

“It’s so dependent on conditions in that moment: Weather conditions, wind, what the blast operator is seeing,” said Josh Morgan with the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

The closures were set to last 15 minutes, sometimes within a five-hour span.

“That will allow the team to send out a 30-minute heads up that at this time on this day we will be closing the roadway,” Morgan said.

Those texts were why Chelsea Horton thought the restaurant she worked at off of Route 161 would be a little busier.

She said it’s been that way even before the blasting.

People were getting off the highway to avoid the construction.

“I think it has upped our business a little bit with through traffic and whatnot, so I think it will help us a little bit,” Horton said.

The blasting and closures will not happen on Fridays, weekends, and Labor Day to try and minimize the impact on summer travel.

“The hope is that these will be short, 15 minutes closures twice a day just to safely remove that rock ledge,” Morgan said.

For real-time traffic updates, check the Channel 3 traffic map here.