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CTDOT Project to Boost Safety in Middletown by Reconfiguring Busy On-Ramp

Wed April 12, 2023 - Northeast Edition #9
Connecticut Department of Transportation

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has begun a project to reconfigure the Conn. Route 17 on-ramp that leads to state Route 9 northbound in Middletown to increase safety for drivers and pedestrians, while also improving traffic mobility.

The road upgrade was announced April 11 by Gov. Ned Lamont and state Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto.

The work includes removing the on-ramp's existing stop sign and creating a full-length, free-flow acceleration lane that will allow vehicles to merge onto Route 9 without first being required to come to a complete stop. Additionally, the bridge carrying Route 17 over Route 9 will be replaced to accommodate the new acceleration lane, while Harbor Drive access to Route 9 will be removed.

The Main Street Extension intersection will be realigned and signalized, and a new sidewalk will be added to the west side of the Main Street Extension underneath Route 17.

Middlesex Corporation, from Littleton, Mass., was awarded the contract, valued at $50 million. It is supported by funding that Connecticut received from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The project is expected to be completed in 2026, according to the governor's office.

Ramp's Current Design Has Led to Hundreds of Crashes

The new roadwork and improvements are part of a larger, comprehensive CTDOT program to improve driver and pedestrian safety in Middletown, including removing the traffic signals on Route 9 and Miller Street access to the freeway.

The on-ramp's current configuration has resulted in 319 crashes and 27 injuries between 2019 and 2022.

"Improving the area around Route 9 in Middletown has been high on my priority list," Lamont said in a press release from his office. "For far too many years, this has been a notorious spot for congestion and accidents, and the current configuration is the source of many of these issues. Reconfiguring the Route 17 on-ramp by removing the stop sign and creating an acceleration lane is just one component of improvements on Route 9 in Middletown that we will be making. President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is allowing us to invest in projects like this that will improve traffic flow and increase safety."

Eucalitto also called the CTDOT effort critical to improving the safety of drivers through the corridor in Middletown.

"Every construction project of ours is focused on improving the safety of drivers, making it easier to get to wherever you're traveling," he said. "The federal infrastructure law passed two years ago allows CTDOT to address the most important roadway and bridge improvements while accelerating our work to make improvements faster."

From his office, Connecticut senior U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said the interchange "has long been a rampant source of senseless crashes," while adding that he commended Lamont's use of the federal funding "to reverse this dangerous trend and make the roads safer for all."

According to U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes Middletown, CTDOT has been working with city officials since 2016 to develop plans for the redesign of the Route 17 on-ramp to Route 9 northbound.

"This project will help reduce congestion, improve both vehicle and pedestrian safety, and increase access to the waterfront," she explained. "Simply put, this investment will help Connecticut build a better, stronger economy — with more jobs."

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