Congressman wants tunnel built in Hartford to ease traffic on I-84, I-91


A giant project proposed on Monday would impact millions of drivers in Connecticut.

Congressman John Larson wants to build a massive tunnel going eastbound through Hartford to improve traffic at the I-84 and I-91 interchange.

"Without vision there is no victory," Larson said.

It would be a two-lane tunnel that could cost an estimated $10 billion.

Legislators said they feel a proposal like this would be a game changer for Hartford, and while it would certainly be expensive and take years to accomplish, they said it could transform Hartford into a world class destination city.

A tunnel going eastbound would run through Hartford and exit out near the Roberts Street exit in East Hartford.

Going westbound, drivers would enter the tunnel near Roberts Street and drive underneath the Connecticut River, exiting out near Flatbush Avenue on I-84.

Another tunnel would run north and south in place of where 1-91 runs along the Connecticut River.

By taking out the highway, it allows walking access to the water, opening up all kinds of all riverfront expansion. Representative Tony Guerrera, who is a co-chair of the state Transportation Committee, said this is just what the state needs.

"You look and what do you see. Highways crossing between you and the river. No more of that, right to the river, restaurants, bars, lined up boat slips coming in. The amount of business that would want to relocate, people graduating from college would want to stay in Connecticut,” Guerrera said.

For people who live in Hartford, some can barely hold back their excitement about a revamped city.

"When I heard about it, I was salivating because I was so excited. I live in the downtown here and I've always said the waterfront is underutilized. Why can't they bury that highway or do something and open up that whole riverfront,” said Roberto Tollis, of Hartford.

Although some express fears of it being the next big dig, referring to a massive project in Massachusetts that took 15 years to build and went 5 times over budget, Larson argues, even so, look at what that did for Boston.

Of course this is just in the early proposal stage, it would like require, tolls, federal money and could be years before it is even started and years to complete it, but if it eventually goes through, it could change the landscape of Hartford for generations to come.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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