The Interstate 84 widening project in Waterbury, Conn., which has been going on since 2015, is on track to open one year ahead of schedule.
The $300 million project involves the addition of a third travel lane and full-width shoulders in each direction to a 2.7-mile segment of the route, one of the major conduits in the state. At a news conference with other state government leaders Aug. 20, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced that completion is imminent.
The three eastbound lanes of I-84 through Waterbury are scheduled to open later this week, and the three westbound lanes are set to open by mid-September.
“The I-84 Waterbury widening project is transforming and revitalizing mobility in Waterbury and supports our goal to make Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure best-in-class,” Malloy said. “This project is exemplary and has exhibited fast-paced, high-quality efficiency from its inception in 2015, and it’s all being done one year ahead of schedule.”
Running across the state from the southwest to the northeast, I-84 bisects Waterbury and Hartford. According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s I-84 Corridor Congestion Relief study, some 141,000 vehicles travel down the route every day.
ConnDOT’s website dedicated to the I-84 Waterbury Widening project states that the goal of the project is to improve safety and capacity on the route and surrounding streets. The portion of I-84 that goes through Waterbury also traverses steep topography, and the project involved reconfiguring several tributaries, including the Mad River and Beaver Pond Brook.
Joseph Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, said I-84 is one of the most important routes trucks use in the state. He said its completion will come as a relief to all motorists, not just truckers.
“That is a good project. That is a project that we would point to as one that eases congestion in the right way,” Sculley said. “We think that all road users will benefit from that.”
The project also involves the construction of off-ramps and the reconfiguration of Harpers Ferry Road, which traverses the interstate. According to ConnDOT’s project website, the purpose of the new design is to create space between ramps so that traffic may move with fewer impediments.
“We are grateful to the City of Waterbury for working with us to develop and implement the detour at Harpers Ferry Road over the past eight weeks,” ConnDOT Commissioner James Redeker said at the event, which took place on a new alignment of I-84. “This allowed us to complete the necessary work in this vicinity in eight weeks rather than in eight months, as was originally planned. This collaboration helped expedite the early opening of additional lanes on I-84.”
Paving activities will continue even after all the lanes of traffic are open. Final pavement markings across all lanes are set for completion in the fall, according to a press release issued by the governor’s office.
Contractors will continue reconstruction and improvement efforts on the network of roads that surround I-84 in this area, including Reidville Drive, East Main Street, Scott Road and Plank Road East.
“Thanks to the skills and tenacity of our engineers, contractors and inspectors, we have made great progress on the project,” ConnDOT District Engineer John Dunham said. “Our goal was to open all additional I-84 lanes to travelers as soon as was feasible, without compromise to the high quality of the construction.”