|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2009)|
Map of southern Connecticut with Connecticut Turnpike highlighted in red
|Maintained by ConnDOT|
|Length:||128.47 mi (206.75 km)|
|Existed:||1958 – present|
|West end:||Script error: No such module "Jct". at the New York state line in Greenwich|
|East end:||Script error: No such module "Jct". near the Rhode Island state line in Killingly|
|Counties:||Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex, New London, Windham|
The Connecticut Turnpike, now officially the Governor John Davis Lodge Turnpike, is a freeway and former toll road in Connecticut that runs (from southwest to northeast) from Greenwich to Killingly. The Turnpike is signed as Interstate 95 from the New York border at Greenwich to East Lyme, and then as Interstate 395 from East Lyme to Plainfield. A short, unnumbered section (unsigned State Road 695) continues the Turnpike where it ends at Killingly, continuing as U.S. 6 at the Rhode Island border. The Turnpike is Script error: No such module "convert". long; Script error: No such module "convert". on I-95, Script error: No such module "convert". on I-395, and Script error: No such module "convert". on CT 695 and carries an annual average daily traffic of over 150,000 in some sections west of New Haven.
Most of the signage identifying the route as a "unified road" has been taken down in recent years. The easternmost section of the turnpike (SR 695) is not signed except as a connection between I-395 North and U.S. Route 6. Connecticut Turnpike trailblazers can still be found, although there are very few in existence today. One of the original Connecticut Turnpike trailblazers can be seen while driving along Center Street in Southport.
- 1 Route description
- 2 History
- 3 Relieving gridlock
- 4 Tolls
- 5 Service plazas and rest areas
- 6 Exit list
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Interstate 95 enters Connecticut as the Connecticut Turnpike in Greenwich at the New York state line. The Connecticut Turnpike stretches for Script error: No such module "convert". across the state, but only the first Script error: No such module "convert". of the Connecticut Turnpike is signed as I-95. The Turnpike portion of I-95 passes through the most heavily urbanized section of Connecticut along the shoreline between Greenwich and New Haven, going through the cities of Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport, and New Haven, with daily traffic volumes of 120,000 to over 150,000 throughout the entire Script error: No such module "convert". length between the New York border and the junction with I-91 in New Haven. The Turnpike intersects with several major expressways, namely U.S. Route 7 at Exit 15 in Norwalk, Route 8 at Exit 27A in Bridgeport, the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways at Exit 38 (via the Milford Parkway) in Milford, and Interstate 91 at Exit 48 in New Haven.
North (east) of I-91, the Turnpike continues along the Connecticut shoreline, usually with less traffic. The six-lane highway is reduced to four lanes in Branford, interchanges with Route 9 at Exit 69 in Old Saybrook, crosses the Connecticut River on the Baldwin Bridge and continues until the interchange with Interstate 395 at Exit 76 near the East Lyme-Waterford line.
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The Turnpike leaves I-95 at Exit 76 in East Lyme continuing on as I-395 North heading towards Norwich, Jewett City and Plainfield until Exit 90, where the Governor John Davis Lodge Turnpike & I-395 split. I-395 continues north towards Worcester, Massachusetts, ending at Interstate 290 and the Massachusetts Turnpike. The Connecticut Turnpike officially ends at U.S. 6 (Danielson Pike) in Killingly, which continues on towards Providence, Rhode Island.
State Road 695 (SR 695) is the Script error: No such module "convert". unsigned portion of the Turnpike from I-395 in Plainfield to US 6 at the Rhode Island state line in Killingly. The road is not signed as Route 695 but eastbound as "To US 6 East" and westbound as "To I-395 South". SR 695 would have become part of the now-defunct alignment of the I-84 freeway between Hartford, Connecticut and Providence, Rhode Island, had that freeway been built. (Present-day Interstate 84 continues eastbound from Hartford into Massachusetts where it ends at Interstate 90, the Massachusetts Turnpike). There are two partial exits on SR 695. The sole numbered exit is Exit 90 (Squaw Rock Road) which is only accessible westbound. The unnumbered easternmost exit, located Script error: No such module "convert". east of the Squaw Rock Road onramp and accessible only eastbound, is for Ross Road, and the only onramp provided from Ross Road is for SR 695 westbound. The intersection with I-395 is only partial: there is no access provided from SR 695 westbound to I-395 northbound and no access from I-395 southbound to SR 695 eastbound.
The general route and construction of the Turnpike were both mandated by state law. Intended to relieve congestion on U.S. Route 1 and Route 15 (the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways), design work began in 1954. The Connecticut Turnpike opened on January 2, 1958; however, the westernmost portion of the highway (the three miles (5 km) connecting Greenwich with the New England Thruway) opened ten months later. Tolls were originally collected through a series of eight toll booths along the route. The state stopped collecting tolls on all portions of the Turnpike by December 31, 1985.
Local legend is the initial phase of Turnpike construction in 1954 was so disruptive in heavily Republican Fairfield County that local voters there turned on incumbent Republican Governor John Davis Lodge, leading to his defeat by Abraham Ribicoff.
Planning and construction
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Several accidents prompted the state to eliminate tolls along the turnpike altogether. Arguably, the most notorious of these was a serious incident on January 19, 1983, in which a tractor trailer after a brake failure collided with four cars at the Stratford toll plaza, killing seven people and injuring several others. The investigation following the crash determined that the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel just before the crash took place.
In June 1983, a section of the Turnpike's northbound Mianus River Bridge in Greenwich collapsed due to corrosion of its substructure, killing three motorists crossing it at the time.
The turnpike was renamed after former Connecticut Governor John Davis Lodge on December 31, 1985, two months after the tolls were removed.
On March 25, 2004 a tanker truck carrying fuel swerved to avoid a car that cut the truck off and subsequently overturned, dumping 8,000 gallons of home heating oil onto the Howard Avenue overpass in Bridgeport. Passing vehicles kicked up the oil which ignited a towering inferno that subsequently melted the bridge structure and caused the southbound lanes to sag several feet. The northbound lanes, which received less damage from the fire, were opened five days later after being reinforced with temporary scaffolding. The southbound lanes opened on April 1, after a temporary bridge was erected.
Upgrades stalled by budget deficits and lawsuits
The Connecticut Turnpike opened southwest Connecticut to a mass migration of New Yorkers, leading to substantial residential and economic growth in Fairfield and New Haven counties. The Turnpike became a primary commuter route to New York City. With additional segments of I-95 opening in the 1960s connecting to Providence and Boston, the Turnpike became an essential route for transporting people and goods throughout the Northeast. As a result, much of the Turnpike had become functionally obsolete by 1965, with traffic exceeding its design capacity. Originally designed to carry 60,000 vehicles per day (VPD) on the four-lane sections and 90,000 VPD on the six-lane portion west of New Haven, the Turnpike carries 75,000–100,000 VPD east of New Haven, and 130,000–200,000 VPD between New Haven and the New York State line as of 2006.
There were dozens of plans discussed to alleviate traffic congestion and improve safety on the Turnpike for nearly 30 years, but most of these plans languished amid political infighting and lawsuits brought on by special-interest groups. Still, traffic and deadly accidents continued to increase each year on the Turnpike, and by the 1990s the Connecticut Turnpike had started to become known as "The Highway of Death".
Furthermore, while most of the Turnpike is signed as Interstate 95 or 395, the highway was designed and built before the Interstate Highway System was established. As a result, much of the Turnpike does not meet Interstate standards, particularly with underpasses ranging from Script error: No such module "convert". to 15 feet (Interstate standards require Script error: No such module "convert". of vertical clearance). Interchanges are too closely spaced; ramps and acceleration/deceleration lanes need to be lengthened. In some areas, median and shoulder widths and curve radii also fall short of Interstate standards.
Complicating efforts to upgrade the Turnpike to Interstate standards is that engineers did not acquire enough right-of-way to accommodate future expansion when the Connecticut Turnpike was built during the late 1950s, which means adjacent land must be seized to upgrade the Turnpike, resulting in lengthy and costly eminent domain battles between the State of Connecticut and landowners refusing to give up their property. Additionally the Turnpike passes through areas with some of the highest property values in the country, making land acquisition for expanding the highway extremely expensive.[clarification needed] Finally, the Turnpike was built through environmentally sensitive ecosystems and wetlands associated with Long Island Sound, meaning most expansion projects require lengthy environmental impact studies that are able to withstand constant litigation by environmental groups. Air pollution laws also cause conflict, since Connecticut is grouped into the federal statistical areas around New York City and it suffers from consequences and special regulations applied to non-compliant air quality areas. An example of this is that it is easier to lengthen an entrance or exit ramp than to add a full lane, since adding any capacity to a road, by definition, will increase the pollution created by the road, further violating federal air quality standards. In 2000, one CONNDOT official commented during a public meeting on expanding Interstate 84 (an interstate route that parallels I-95 about 20 miles further inland), "If we had tried to build I-95 today, it would be impossible because of the sensitive ecosystems it passes through. It would never get approved."
Bridge collapse jumpstarts turnpike upgrades
A comprehensive plan to address safety and capacity issues on the Connecticut Turnpike did not progress beyond the initial planning stages until the collapse of the Mianus River Bridge on June 28, 1983. Following the collapse, governor William A. O'Neill initiated an $8 billion program to rehabilitate Connecticut's highways. Included in this program was the inspection and repair of the Turnpike's nearly 300 bridges and overpasses. Furthermore, Governor O'Neill directed the Connecticut Department of Transportation to develop a viable plan for addressing safety and congestion on the state's roads.
Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Connecticut Department of Transportation developed a comprehensive plan to improve the Turnpike through Fairfield and New Haven counties. In 1993 CONNDOT embarked on a 25-year multi-billion-dollar program to upgrade the Connecticut Turnpike from the Connecticut River at Old Saybrook to the New York state line at Greenwich. The program included the complete reconstruction of several Turnpike segments, including replacing bridges, adding travel lanes, reconfiguring interchanges, upgrading lighting and signage, and implementing the Intelligent Transportation System with traffic cameras, a variety of embedded roadway sensors, and variable-message signs. Since the start of the program, a Script error: No such module "convert". section through Bridgeport was completely rebuilt to Interstate standards. Work is currently underway[when?] on a long-term $2 billion program to rebuild Script error: No such module "convert". of turnpike between West Haven and Branford, including a new extradosed Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge over the Quinnipiac River and New Haven Harbor.
Plans to upgrade the Turnpike received a boost in 2005 when federal legislation known as SAFETEA-LU designated the I-95 portion of the Connecticut Turnpike from the New York state line to Waterford as High Priority Corridor 65. Corridor 65 also includes the Script error: No such module "convert". section of I-95 from Waterford to the Rhode Island state line that was built in 1964, which is not part of the Turnpike.
Plans for the I-395/CT-695 section
Traffic is relatively light on the rural I-395 section and the northeast leg (Connecticut Route 695) in Killingly; this section is largely unchanged from its original 1958 profile. The only major project on this section is the reconstruction of the northbound on and off ramps at Exit 80 in Norwich, a project completed in 2009. Aside from minor spot improvements, no other major projects are anticipated for this portion of the Turnpike.
- Raymond E. Baldwin Bridge replacement (Connecticut River), Old Saybrook (to Old Lyme): $460 million, completed in 1994
- Saugatuck River Bridge replacement, Westport: $65 million, completed in 1996
- Lake Saltonstall Bridge Widening, East Haven: $50 million, completed in 1997
- Widening/reconstruction Exits 8-10, Stamford: $80 million, completed in 2000
- Reconstruction of Interchange 40, Milford: $30 million, completed in 2002
- Reconstruction of Interchange 41, Orange: $60 million, completed in 2000
- Reconstruction/widening Exits 23-30, Bridgeport: $570 million, completed in 2006 (two years behind schedule and $170 million over budget) (NOTE 1)
- Widening between Exits 51 to 54, East Haven/Branford: $86 million, completed in 2006
- Reconfigure northbound ramps at Exit 80, Norwich: $8 million, started in April 2009, estimated completion in November 2009.
- Widening between Exits 51 and 49 (NOTE 2), East Haven/New Haven: $70 million, started in 2005, completed in 2008
- Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge Replacement, New Haven: $490 million, started in 2008, expected completion 2015 (NOTE 3)
- I-91/Route 34 Interchange Reconstruction, New Haven: $270 million, initial phases started in 2004, expected completion in 2016
- Interchange 42 reconstruction, West Haven: $36 million, started in 2003, completed in 2007
- Housatonic River Bridge replacement, Milford/Stratford: $300 million, work started in September 2009, expected completion in 2016
- West River Bridge replacement and widening (including reconstructing Exit 44 and removing Exit 45), New Haven: $200 million; construction began in 2014, expected completion in 2018
- Widening between Exits 10 and 13, Darien: $35 million, started in 2008, completed in 2010
- Widening between Exits 14 and 15, Norwalk: $50 million, started in 2013, expected completion in 2015
- Widening between Exits 15 and 16 (including replacement of the Yankee Doodle Bridge over the Norwalk River), Norwalk: Cost TBD, start time TBD, expected completion TBD
- Widening and reconstruction Exits 45 to 47 (Long Wharf Section), New Haven: $200–500 million, started in 2009, expected completion 2013[needs update]
- Reconfigure the I-95/I-395/US 1 interchange to accommodate the future Route 11 expressway, Waterford: Cost TBD, start time TBD, expected completion TBD.
- Add a travel lane in each direction from Branford to Waterford: $1.0 billion, start time TBD, expected completion TBD.
- Reconstruction and widening Exits 6-8, Stamford: Cost TBD, expected start TBD, expected completion TBD.
- Add a travel lane in each direction from New York State Line to Bridgeport: Cost TBD, expected start TBD, expected completion TBD
- In addition, CONNDOT has been reconstructing the median of the Turnpike in stages, replacing the pre-existing steel guide rail and grass divider with a Script error: No such module "convert". wide, 48-inch-tall Jersey barrier along the highway's length from the Baldwin Bridge to the New York State line.
- Exit 49 was permanently closed in October 2006 as part of this project. Access to Stiles Street is now provided at Exit 50 via the newly constructed Waterfront Connector. The southbound on-ramp still exists onto the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge.
- The southbound off-ramp and northbound on-ramp for Exit 28 were removed in 2000 during reconstruction of the Connecticut Turnpike in Bridgeport.
- Replacement of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven was planned to start in 2007. Due to the rising cost of materials however, there were no contractors interested in the project when it was advertised for bid in 2006. CONNDOT has since broken the project up into several smaller contracts, with the first contracts scheduled for bid in October 2007.[needs update]
Tolls on the Connecticut Turnpike have been a source of controversy from the Turnpike's opening in 1958 to the removal of tolls in 1985, and the debate continues today. The Connecticut Turnpike originally opened with a barrier toll system (or open system), unlike toll roads in neighboring states, which used a ticket system (or closed system) for collecting tolls. Initially tolls on the Connecticut Turnpike were $0.25 and the toll barriers were located in the following locations, Greenwich, Norwalk, Stratford, West Haven, Branford, Madison, Montville, and Plainfield. Tolls also were collected until the early 1970s in Old Saybrook at the west end of the Baldwin Bridge over the Connecticut River. Additionally, unlike other toll roads which featured widely spaced interchanges, the Connecticut Turnpike has over 90 interchanges along its Script error: No such module "convert". length—50 of which are along the Script error: No such module "convert". stretch between the New York State line and New Haven.
Token War with New York City Subway
There was some controversy in the early 1980s when New York City Subway riders discovered that tokens purchased for use in the Connecticut Turnpike toll booths were of the same size and weight as New York City subway tokens. Since they cost less than one third as much, they began showing up in subway collection boxes regularly. Connecticut authorities initially agreed to change the size of their tokens, but later reneged, and the problem went unsolved until 1985, when Connecticut discontinued the tolls on its turnpike. At that time, the MTA was paid 17.5 cents for each of more than two million tokens that had been collected during the three-year "token war."
Connecticut abolishes tolls
After a 1983 truck crash that killed 7 people at the Stratford toll plaza, toll opponents pressured the State of Connecticut to remove tolls from the Turnpike in 1985. Three years later, these same opponents successfully lobbied the Connecticut General Assembly to pass legislation abolishing tolls on all of Connecticut's highways (with the exception of two car ferries across the Connecticut River in Chester and Glastonbury). While the 1983 Stratford accident was cited as the main reason for abolishing tolls in Connecticut, the underlying reason was the fact that federal legislation at that time forbade states with toll roads from using federal funds for road projects. Because the Mianus River Bridge was rebuilt with federal highway funds following its June 1983 collapse, Connecticut was required by Section 113(c) of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 to remove tolls from the Turnpike once its construction bonds were paid off.
The debate over tolls on the Turnpike did not end in 1988 with the abolition of tolls in Connecticut. Prior to their removal in 1985, tolls on the Connecticut Turnpike generated over $65 million annually. Since their removal in the late 1980s, Connecticut lawmakers have continuously discussed reinstating tolls, but have balked at bringing tolls back out of fear of having to repay $2.6 billion in federal highway funds that Connecticut received for Turnpike construction projects following the abolition of tolls.
During the economic recession of the early 1990s, legislators studied reinstating tolls on parts of the Connecticut Turnpike and portions of highways around Hartford to make up for huge budget deficits. Proposals for reinstating tolls were scrapped in lieu of implementing an income tax and increasing the state gasoline tax and sales tax, and imposing a new tax on corporate windfall profits.
Toll debate continues
With continual budget woes in Hartford, the idea of reinstating tolls resurfaced in January 2010. State Rep. Tony Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, estimates a $5 toll at Connecticut's borders could generate $600 million in revenue. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has expressed pessimism that toll revenue would be spent exclusively on infrastructure repairs, but a need to generate additional revenue, paired with decreases in traditional highway funding sources (such as federal aid and gas tax revenue) means the idea could receive serious consideration in the state legislature.
Service plazas and rest areas
The turnpike has 13 service plazas. All are open 24 hours and have fuel service. All have fast food service; most have a McDonald's. They replaced sit-down dining originally featured in some plazas. All service plazas on the turnpike are in the process of being rebuilt with new and expanded buildings replacing the original out of date structures. Additional food vendors and traveler services will be provided at each plaza upon completion. This project has brought fresh food options to the I-395 plazas for the first time. Upon completion of the project in 2015, all plazas will have at least a Subway and a Dunkin' Donuts, plus a convenience store.
- Darien southbound — MP 9 between Exits 10 and 9 - Food and Fuel - Rebuilt 2013
- Darien northbound — MP 12 between Exits 12 and 13 - Food and Fuel — Connecticut Welcome Center - Rebuilt 2013. The McDonald's restaurant at this service area claims to be the busiest in the country.
- Fairfield northbound and southbound — MP 25 between Exits 21 and 22 - Food and Fuel - Rebuilt 2014
- Milford northbound and southbound — MP 41 between Exits 40 and 41 - Food and Fuel - Rebuilt 2011
- Branford northbound and southbound — MP 52 between Exits 53 and 54 - Food and Fuel - Rebuilt 2013-14
- Madison northbound and southbound — MP 65 between Exits 61 and 62 - Food and Fuel - NB Rebuilt 2014, SB CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS
- Montville southbound only — MP 96 between Exits 79A and 79 - Food and Fuel - Rebuilt 2013
- Plainfield northbound and southbound — MP 123 between exits 89 and 90 - Food and Fuel - Rebuilt 2012
The former northbound Montville service area has been turned into a State Police barracks.
In addition to the Service Areas listed above, there is also a Rest Area, with restrooms, phone, picnic area, and seasonal tourist info located northbound at MP 74 between exits 65 and 66.
There are three State Police stations located on the turnpike: Troop F — Westbrook at MP 74 on southbound side of turnpike. Troop E — Montville at MP 96 on northbound side of turnpike (at former service plaza). Troop G — Bridgeport at MP 29 and the junction with Routes 8 and 25 (on surface road - exit 27, just below interchange).
There is one weigh station located northbound at MP 2 in Greenwich. Weigh stations on both sides of the Turnpike used to exist near Exit 18 in Westport; these were removed during the 1990s. The former southbound weigh station in Westport is now used by CONNDOT to store construction materials, while the northbound station was demolished; the grounds returned to their natural state.
The administration building for the former West Haven toll plaza can still be seen driving between Exits 42 and 43. Today, CONNDOT uses the old toll building as a maintenance facility.
- Connecticut Department of Transportation, Highway Log as of December 31, 2006
- Connecticut Department of Transportation Traffic Log
- "Section 13a-21 of the General Statutes of Connecticut". Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- Connecticut Department of Transportation History
- "Providence Journal: I-95 in Fairfield - WestportNow.com - Westport, Connecticut". Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- Weizel, Richard. "Road Crews Toil As Fairfield County Bridges Age". The Greenwich Daily Voice. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- "CONNECTICUT HIGHWAY TOKEN BUYS SUBWAY RIDE, TOO", The New York Times, November 18, 1982, p.1
- "CONNECTICUT TO ALTER ITS TURNPIKE TOKENS, SOLVING SUBWAY ISSUE", The New York Times, December 15, 1982, p.1
- "17½ ACCORD PUTS AN END TO THE GREAT TOKEN WAR", The New York Times, November 7, 1985,
- Why Does the Interstate System Include Toll Roads? Federal highway Administration, Feb 16, 2011
- ConnDOT: Connecticut Rest Areas
Route map: Bing
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Interstate 95 in Connecticut.|
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Interstate 395 (Connecticut–Massachusetts).|