Ground broken on $356M interchange in New Haven, Conn.

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Officials on Monday, June 20, broke ground on the I-95/I-91/Route 34 Interchange, the last major phase of the I-95 New Haven Harbor Crossing Corridor Improvement Program. “These I-95 upgrades will cut the congestion that slows down the movement of goods and people in this critical corridor,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The project is an important example of how transportation can help businesses thrive and create jobs to restore America’s economic competitiveness.”

The I-95/I-91/Route 34 project consists of rebuilding the interchange to accommodate the new 10-lane Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, or Q Bridge, currently under construction. The new bridge will be the first of its kind in the United States combining the characteristics of two different types of bridges; it will combine the characteristics of the concrete box girder bridge (concrete beams in the shape of a box as support) and the cable-stayed bridge (cables attached to piers as support).

The interchange project, slated for completion in 2016, extends one mile along I-95 from Interchange 46 to about East Street. The reconstruction will eliminate left-lane exit and entrance ramps to improve safety and will result in the replacement of 21 bridges. The project will add lanes on I-95 and lane connections to I-91 to reduce bottlenecks in the area.

“Congestion has a negative impact on business growth and the mobility of people in Connecticut,” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez says. “This project is good for the economy because it will cost less to transport products, cause fewer delays to customers and make deliveries more reliable, while ensuring faster commute times.”

The larger New Haven corridor originally was designed and built in the 1950s for daily traffic volume of 40,000; it now accommodates close to 140,000 vehicles a day. The I-95 New Haven Harbor Crossing Corridor Improvement Program – estimated at $2.2 billion, including the $356 million interchange – consists of 12 contracts for operational and safety improvements on about 7.2 miles of I-95 in New Haven, East Haven and Branford. It extends from Interchange 46 to Interchange 54 on I-95.