Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Readers Say Why They Hate I-95

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Last week’s column (“Why We Love To Hate I-95”) apparently struck a nerve, generating a lot of comments, some of which I thought I’d share here

Carolanne wrote “I-95 needs to be re-paved.  Ever notice how uneven the interstate is?  It’s very unsafe.  As for (lack of State) police, thank you Democrats (for defunding law enforcement.)”

Commenting on the highway’s condition, Pam from Darien said “I need to follow up with CDOT about the claim I put in for $350 for repairs to my car after driving on freshly laid pavement this summer.  The black splatters covering my white car had to be removed professionally.  I HATE I-95.”

The biggest number of comments came after my suggestion that, to reduce the use of I-95 by local traffic, some of the road’s 93 exits be closed.

For background, this was an idea studied 20 years ago by the Transportation Strategy Board (TSB).  While some people loved the idea of closing exits (many of which are less than a mile apart), they only wanted to close exits they never used, not of course “their” exits.  So this idea, like so many suggestions of the TSB, went nowhere.

Barb in New London reminded me that the only way to cross the Thames and Connecticut Rivers (and not drive 20 miles out of your way) is to use I-95’s bridges, one of which was in gridlock recently after emergency repairs due to crumbling concrete headers.  She also pointed out that CDOT is not keeping the roadway or breakdown lanes clear of debris… “Furniture, dog crates and bags of garbage… sometimes there for days,” she wrote.

But the best email I received was from a retired Traffic and ITS (Intelligent Traffic Systems) engineer now living in Glastonbury.  He writes “I-95 was designed and built over 65 years ago. The world and highway design has changed a lot since then. It’s long past the time that I-95 is brought into the 21st Century but the regional planning agencies who set priorities for spending, have long refused to prioritize improvements.”

He continued…”I remember 40 years ago thinking the state will someday address it but here we are 40 years later and it’s worse than ever. Everyone I know complains about it and says something should be done. So why then, after decades, is nothing being done? That is what should be addressed.  Who is to blame? CTDOT? WestCOG? The Governor? The State Legislature? The towns? This is what the media should be addressing. It’s the only way to break the never ending logjam that has led to more ‘do nothing’ “

Love it or hate it, I-95 is the carotid artery of this state’s economy.  It is vital to all of our lives (even if you never drive on it).  But like many of our own arteries, it’s beyond being clogged.  It’s a heart attack waiting to happen.

Jim Cameron is founder of the Commuter Action Group and advocates for Connecticut rail riders. His weekly column “Talking Transportation” is archived here.  You can contact Jim at [email protected].”

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