John Fonfara

State Senator

John Fonfara

Deputy President Pro Tempore

June 2, 2017

Fonfara Applauds Senate Passage of Legislation Supporting Tunnel Option for Reconstruction of I-91/I-84

Senator John Fonfara (D-Hartford) today voted for a bill that would see the State Department of Transportation study the construction of tunnels to alleviate traffic at the Interstate 84 and 91 interchange in Hartford.

Senate Bill 501 allows the DOT to consider using federal funds that may become available to build tunnels for I-84 and I-91 in the Hartford area. The bill passed the Senate 30-6 Friday.

“This is such a visionary proposal that should be part of the consideration of the Department of Transportation in deciding our future for Interstate 84 and Interstate 91 in Hartford, which has long been the bane of our existence,” Sen. Fonfara said. “Through this plan, Hartford has an historic opportunity to remove a monumental barrier dividing the state’s capital city, to reconnect neighborhoods, to regain access to the Connecticut River, and to turn existing highways into scenic boulevards.”

Like many similar interstate highway interchanges of its era, Hartford’s I-84/I-91 interchange and viaduct are approaching the end of their useful life. The DOT has undertaken a project which begins to grapple with the challenge of how best to replace this aging highway alignment and complex system of raised structures in ways that respond not only to transportation needs, but also to essential elements of urban design and economic development imperatives.

The plan to build a tunnel for both I-84 and I-91 in Hartford would include significant benefits including:

  • Bringing back the entire South Meadows neighborhood in East Hartford.
  • Solving the long-term traffic problem Connecting Hartford to its neighbors and the riverfront.
  • Creating valuable areas for development in Hartford where the highways currently stand.