Connecticut Approves Borrowing to Widen Three Miles of I-84

On Friday, Connecticut’s State Bond Commission approved $537 million in transportation projects.  (The full commission agenda is here.)  While the list of projects includes funds for road and bridge repair, transit and planning, it also commits the State to the widening of I-84 in Waterbury between exits 22 and 25A. The approved funds put the state on track to put the project out to bid by spring 2014.

The three-mile widening will cost the state up to $500 million, or $167 million a mile. To put this in perspective, Connecticut receives just $486 million a year in federal funds for all road and bridge projects. In a statement, TSTC Executive Director Veronica Vanterpool said:

While the Department of Transportation has made progress in tackling a long backlog of repair needs, the state’s road conditions remain dismal and ten percent of bridges are structurally deficient. Committing to another pricey road widening means less funding available for maintenance, and slower going ahead. Furthermore, decades of experience in Connecticut and across the country have shown that highway expansion leads to sprawl development, which increases traffic and quickly re-congests the road.

Over the weekend, USA TODAY featured the poor condition of Connecticut’s roads in the lead paragraph of an article about the country’s rough roads. According to an analysis by TRIP and USA TODAY, Connecticut has the second-highest percentage of road-miles in “poor” condition in the nation.