The city of Hartford, Conn., and the Connecticut Department of Transportation are discussing plans to re-direct I-84 and I-91 through the city with two tunnels costing $10 billion.
The Hartford Courant reports that Congressman John B. Larsen (D-1st District) has proposed building tunnels to redirect traffic beneath the city of Hartford, Conn. Preliminary studies indicate the cost of this project will be $10 billion.
The proposal calls for the project to be done in conjunction with current plans “to lower the I-84 viaduct to ground level or slightly above for 2 miles through the city.”
Although the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) opposes the project because of its cost, this has not deterred Congressman Larson and city officials from proceeding with their planning.
“Larson spokeswoman Geraldine DePuy said in a[n] email … ‘This is still a broad concept and the specifics still need to be worked out; however, what’s important is that the option is being considered and will hopefully be developed further.’”
Hartford’s mayor, Luke Bronin supports the proposal. “’I think one of the biggest [mistakes] was to cut the city in half with I-84 and to cut the city off from the river with I-91’”
The mayor of East Hartford also supports the project.
Proponents argue that the tunnels will open up more land in both cities, including the riverfront, for economic development.
The main issues are cost and funding. Mr. Larson believes the project makes financial sense if Congress approves funding for the project.
It seems clear that the tunnels and the lowering of the viaduct will stimulate economic development in Hartford, East Hartford, and the surrounding area.
Congress and the President have agreed that infrastructure spending is essential to the economic health of our country. Highways are deteriorating and congested.
This restricts the transportation of goods and impedes the redevelopment of urban areas.
Infrastructure spending creates jobs, good paying jobs.
How Congress responds to Hartford’s project will be an indicator of Congress’ ability to appropriate funds for infrastructure improvements throughout the country.
ConnDOT And Local Leaders Proceed With Caution On 10B Highway Tunnel Proposal, Hartford Courant, Oct. 4, 2016.