June 23, 2021

Eighth-Most Congested Highways In Country, Increased Wear On Pavement – Sen. Haskell Draws Attention To Key Infrastructure Report Further Emphasizing Need To Invest In Roads

If it seems local commutes have gotten more congested and the quality of key highways is declining, that’s because they are, according to the latest TRIP report on transportation infrastructure in Connecticut and the country. The report, compiled by the national transportation research nonprofit, finds that Connecticut has the eighth-most congested urban interstates in the United States, with those roads seeing some of the highest rates of wear in the country. This report draws attention to the state’s increasing need for transportation infrastructure overhauls, repairs and rehabilitation, said State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport), Senate Chair of the Transportation Committee.

“The report makes crystal clear that congestion and decay in our infrastructure network is holding Connecticut back,” Sen. Haskell said. “As the Senate Chairman of the Transportation Committee, I’m eager to reverse this trend, put people to work and bring our highways and bridges into the 21st century. We can’t continue complaining about traffic jams unless we’re also willing to do something about them.”

In Connecticut, during peak hours, as many as 63% of urban interstate highways are congested during peak hours, according to travel statistics compiled by TRIP and prepared by federal authorities. That’s the eighth-highest rate in the United States – all while Connecticut interstates see the 12th highest rate of daily interstate travel per urban lane-mile, seeing nearly 1,000 more daily travelers on roads compared to the national average.

Additionally, the TRIP report found Connecticut tied for the eighth-most structurally deficient bridges in the country, with 3% of all bridges and structures in the state receiving such a designation. These figures and rates are all slated to increase in coming years, especially wear and tear – after travel declined significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, rates have rebounded nearly entirely in recent months.

Wear and tear issues are especially concerning on highways, which continue to see significantly high rates of travel. The issue is not limited to structure integrity either; breakdowns and issues on highways add tens of billions of dollars to the cost of freight transportation and lead to the emission of as much as 67 million tons of excess carbon dioxide emissions every year, posing threats to product costs and increasing rates of pollution that can impact public health.

In response to these issues, TRIP suggests significant increases in federal spending to preserve the structural integrity of Connecticut highways, including foundational reconstruction where necessary, system right-sizing and addition of highway capacity where needed. One place where Connecticut’s highways are in good shape is their safety, however; the report found Connecticut interstates’ designs make them nearly 2.5 times safer to travel on than non-interstate routes, with safety features estimated to save 51 lives in 2019.

To read TRIP’s full report on American transportation needs and highway infrastructure work, please click here; for more information on TRIP, please click here.