June 3, 2017

Larson Advances Bill to Reimagine the Capitol Area Transportation System

The Connecticut Senate Friday passed a bill to prioritize an infrastructure project to replace the Interstate I-84 and 91 viaduct with a tunnel system to alleviate traffic congestion, revitalize the region and reconnect the North End of Hartford with the rest of the city.

Senate Bill 501, An Act Concerning The Construction of Tunnels For Interstate Routes 84 And 91 In The Hartford Region, passed the Senate on a largely bipartisan vote of 30-6.

The legislation would allow the State Department of Transportation to consider using federal funds to construct tunnels if such funds become available.

The plan was developed by State Senator Tim Larson (D-East Hartford) and Congressman John Larson (D-1).

“This is a bold, forward thinking solution to what is a huge infrastructure project, and the support we saw this evening for our ‘big dig’ plan sends a strong statement to the federal government that the State of Connecticut is serious about seeing this project through,” said Sen. Larson. “The state is already working on plans to revamp the I-84 and 91 interchange. This is an opportunity for our state to have a grand reimagining of our community’s transportation system and reclaim a significant portion of our Capital city using primarily federal dollars.”

The plan would reroute I-84 underground from the area of Flatbush Avenue in West Hartford to the Charter Oak Bridge and then underneath the Connecticut River to the vicinity of Roberts Street in East Hartford. I-91 would be buried along the Connecticut River north of Riverside Park in Hartford to the South Meadows.

“I would like to thank my colleague Sen. Larson for bringing forward this bold, innovative idea that has the potential to have a dynamic impact on the future not only of Hartford but on the state of Connecticut and the entire northeast corridor,” said Senator Carlo Leone (D-Stamford), who serves as the Democratic Senate Chair of the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee.

Significant benefits of the proposal include:

  • 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

The bill goes next to the State House of Representatives for consideration.