There was every reason to feel optimistic this summer when state transportation officials outlined plans for the first of three project phases to improve the interchange of highways in Meriden long noted as a source of confusion and congestion. Improving safety where interstates 91 and 691 and routes 15 and 66 come together in and around Meriden has long been a goal.
Now the wheels of action are in motion. The state Bond Commission recently approved $61 million for that first phase. The funding also includes money to pave roads in downtown Meriden, which ought to contribute significantly to the ongoing effort to revitalize the area.
That paving project, at about $1.2 million, will include West Main, Colony, Hanover, State and Grove streets, and is coordinated with an underway traffic signaling project.
“It’s tied into quality of life and economic development that we are trying to enhance in the downtown area,” said Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati, as quoted in the Record-Journal. “The roads are in poor condition. While we’ve done a lot with downtown, there’s still more to be done.”
Improving the highway interchange will be a boost as well. The first phase focuses on a section of I-691 and I-91, and includes widening the ramp from I-691 east to I-91 north to two lanes and widening I-91 north.
The cost of the initial phase is more than $57 million, with the overall cost of the three-phase improvement estimated at about $330 million. As the R-J reported, about 120,000 vehicles travel I-91 north, and about 80,000 I-691 east, every day, according to project engineers.
Construction is to start this fall, with the project completion expected in the spring of 2025.
It’s been a long time getting to this point, with funding approved and the project set to begin. Improving travel and safety along those roadways is going to be a great benefit.