Governor Lamont Announces Groundbreaking for Major Reconfiguration of I-91, I-691, Route 15 Interchange in Meriden

Government and Politics

June 11, 2024

From: Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont

Project Becomes One of the Largest Underway in Connecticut Supported by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

MERIDEN, CT - Governor Ned Lamont and Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto today hosted a ceremony to break ground and commemorate the start of the second construction phase of a major, three-phase project to reconfigure the highway interchange connecting Interstate 91, Interstate 691, and Route 15 in Meriden.

The interchange has been one of the most congested and outdated highway corridors in Connecticut. The reconfiguration project, which is being overseen by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, is designed with the goal of reducing congestion and improving safety by eliminating dangerous waving points, correcting roadway geometry, and adding multi-lane exits. Upon completion in 2030, the project will see the replacement and rehabilitation several bridges in the corridor and the addition of travel lanes to improve traffic flow.

It is supported by a combination of funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) and state funding authorized by the Lamont administration and the Connecticut General Assembly. This becomes one of the largest projects underway in Connecticut to receive support from President Joe Biden’s landmark law investing in the nation’s infrastructure.

“This interchange is consistently one of the most congested and dangerous sections of highway in Connecticut, and when President Biden announced his plans to make historic investments to improve the nation’s infrastructure, I had this exact project in Meriden in mind as a priority that can benefit most,” Governor Lamont said. “Reconfiguring this highway to improve safety and traffic flow is directly connected with our ability to encourage businesses to locate, expand, and grow jobs in the region because it serves as a critical link for passengers and freight connecting critical corridors between New York and Massachusetts. This is a major, multi-year project that is going to take some time to complete, but I think we can all agree that it absolutely needs to be done. I especially want to thank President Biden, Federal Highway Administration Administrator Bhatt, Connecticut’s outstanding Congressional delegation, and our state lawmakers for partnering with us on this effort to get shovels in the ground and make this much-needed project a reality.”

“The I-91, I-691, Route 15 interchange is one of the most congested and painstaking areas for Connecticut travelers,” Commissioner Eucalitto said. “We’re going to fix the interchange to reduce congestion and improve safety for generations. Thank you to Federal Highway Administrator Bhatt, Connecticut’s federal delegation, Governor Lamont, and the state legislature for the continued support.”

Today’s ceremony was attended by Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt, as well as several state and local officials, including Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, Mayor Kevin Scarpati, and others.

“I am pleased to be here today on behalf of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration to celebrate the start of the second phase of construction of this critically important highway interchange for drivers in Connecticut who rely on this corridor to get to their destinations,” Administrator Bhatt said. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are committed to getting things done for the American people, creating opportunities that improve safety and quality of life, and making sure federal dollars are helping to modernize our transportation infrastructure all over the country.”

“We know that how we design and maintain our roadways can impact driving conditions – affecting traffic and determining the likelihood of accidents,” Lt. Governor Bysiewicz said. “With the needed improvements to this major interchange, we will see good jobs, improved driving conditions, and a smoother driving experience for those driving through the Meriden region. When we prioritize the needs of all our residents and make it easier to get around from point A to point B, our state is a better place. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make today possible, and I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition.”

“This pivotal project, supported by $200 million in federal funding, will provide much-needed relief to Connecticut motorists who have experienced significant congestion at the I-691 and I-91 interchange for years,” U.S. Senator Blumenthal said. “I applaud Governor Lamont and Commissioner Eucalitto for committing to real improvements to make this interchange safer for all drivers. I am proud to see Bipartisan Infrastructure Law dollars at work in Connecticut and will continue to fight for more of these federal investments to strengthen our roads and bridges.”

“Traffic along the I-91, I-691, Route 15 interchange is a huge headache for the thousands of people in Connecticut who drive through it every day,” U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said. “By tackling key congestion points and unblocking bottlenecks, this investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will cut commute times, reduce congestion costs, improve highway safety, and create good-paying jobs in our state.”

“Updating the existing I-91, I-691, Route 15 interchange in Meriden will benefit our state by making travel safer and reducing traffic,” Congresswoman Hayes (CT-05) said. “This redevelopment is the latest example of funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act being used to modernize highways across Connecticut. I look forward to continuing to work with state and local partners to advance additional transportation projects.”

“Here in Connecticut, we all know how frustrating it is to sit in traffic,” Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) said. “That’s why I’m excited to see funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I was proud to help pass last Congress, go towards alleviating roadway congestion at the interchange between I-91, I-691, and Route 15 in Meriden. Reconfiguring this chokepoint will save our community time and money by allowing commuters to get to work, students to school, and parents home to their families without wasting time idling on the interstate.”

Three-phase project is expected to be complete by 2030

The project’s first phase began in early 2023 and is aimed at repairing bridges, adding a lane of traffic to I-91, and making related road improvements. This includes:

- Realigning and widening the ramp from I-691 eastbound to I-91 northbound (Exit 1A old Exit 11) to two lanes to meet traffic demand.
- Bridge replacement due to the proposed ramp realignment and widening.
- Adding an auxiliary lane on I-91 northbound to relieve congestion caused by a steep uphill grade.
- Bridge widening due to the added lane.

This second phase that is now underway includes:

- Adding a new two-lane exit ramp from Route 15 northbound to I-91 northbound to reduce traffic congestion on the Exit 68 N-E ramp.
- Closing the existing Exit 17 ramp from I-91 northbound to Route 15 northbound and re-routing traffic to Exit 16 to provide a two-lane exit ramp with a right-side traffic merge onto Route 15 northbound.
- Widening the existing Exit 68W ramp from Route 15 northbound to I-691 westbound to two lanes.
- Reconfiguring the acceleration and deceleration lanes to provide adequate traffic weaving distances.

Proposed improvements for a third phase include:

- A new two-lane exit ramp from Route 15 southbound to I-91 southbound to reduce traffic congestion on the existing Exit 67 ramp.
- A new two-lane I-91 southbound ramp to Route 15 southbound to reduce traffic congestion on the existing Exit 17 ramp.
- Widening the ramp from I-691 eastbound to Route 15 southbound (Exit 10) to two lanes.
- Widening the ramp from I-91 southbound to I-691 westbound (Exit 18) to two lanes.

Funding comes from combination of state and federal resources

The cost of the first phase is $80 million and is entirely funded by the state. The second phase is supported by $50 million in state funding and $200 million federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It is expected that a third phase will also be supported by a similar combination of state and federal funding. The expenditure for all three phases combined is anticipated to be more than $500 million.

This project includes a project labor agreement with the building trades, providing good-paying jobs and workforce development training for the next generation of workers.

Commuters are encouraged to learn more about the project, get the latest updates, and subscribe to construction alerts by visiting the project’s website at i-91i-691route15interchange.com