State shares proposal for removing traffic lights from Route 9 in Middletown

Route 9 conceptual art for Middletown. (DOT file)

A public meeting was held Thursday night regarding changes to Route 9 in Middletown.

The changes, according to the Department of Transportation, include removing traffic lights on the route and intersection improvements along Main Street.

DOT worker said the project will significantly reduce traffic and accidents along Route 9, but people who live and drive in the area said they're skeptical of the plants.

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew said DOT workers revised their $75 million plan after public feedback two years ago.

"I think it's going to bring more people down here, but flow them better so it's going to be better for the business community in the long run," Drew said.

The plan will include removing traffic lights on Route 9, but also bumping out sidewalks on Main Street for shorter and safer crossing to the other side.

There would be a new exit ramp from Route 9 northbound to enter the city.

"I have children that play in that area, they get to play outside on a regular basis. They go outside and wait for their bus and now I have to question, is there going to be cars racing down the block trying to get to the highway, zooming in and out," said Shanay Fulton of Middletown.

Fulton lives on the north end and worries if the project goes through, her street won't be quiet anymore.

The state believes these changes will ease traffic and reduce the number of crashes, but some Main Street business owners aren't sold .

"We're already a little tight with parking and traffic flow, so if we were to lose any of that or if there was more traffic dumped into our area that would be of concern," said Carrie Carella from Nora Cupcake Company.

The $75 million project would be funded with federal money. The earliest construction could start is about one year from today/

"I'm not saying it's a problem for people to come here into the town. It's a great thing, but let's focus on the people here," Fulton said.

The meeting was 7 p.m. at the Middletown High School Auditorium on La Rosa Lane.

The traffic signals have been in place since the 1950s.

Past plans to remove them from Route 9 have been discussed in the past, but none have come to fruition.

Gov. Dannel Malloy announced the most recent proposal more than a year and a half ago.

If you would like to weigh in on this project, state DOT workers said you contact Mr. Erik A Jarboe at (860) 594-3299 or by e-mail at Erik.Jarboe@ct.gov. Plans for the project are also available to review at Middletown City Hall.

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