By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro joined state Transportation Deputy Commissioner Mark Rolfe and Mayor Nancy R. Rossi on Sept. 8 to announce $105 million in federal infrastructure funding for building new Interstate 95 southbound and northbound bridges in West Haven.
“The widening of these structures will allow for the full realization of the I-95 improvements and achieve a combined five-minute travel time savings per vehicle over this half-mile project area,” said DeLauro, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee.
“When you multiply that five minutes by the total vehicle miles traveled, you end up saving 891 hours of vehicle hours traveled in one half-hour period, a significant travel reduction,” said DeLauro, D-3.
DeLauro, Rolfe and Rossi heralded the money, funded by the $1 trillion infrastructure legislation that passed last year, during a late-morning news conference in a commuter parking lot on First Avenue, just off I-95’s Exit 43.
“I’m very excited to announce the I-95 West Haven bridge project, which is an important investment into our infrastructure, our time, our air quality and the safety of our drivers,” said Rossi, who thanked the public safety-minded DeLauro for making the project a reality.
The I-95 West Haven Safety Improvement Project will encompass two bridges: one carrying I-95 southbound on three 12-foot travel lanes over the Metro-North Railroad line, and one carrying I-95 northbound on three 12-foot travel lanes over Route 122, First Avenue.
As part of the project, the acceleration lane along I-95 southbound from Exit 44 in New Haven will be extended as an operational lane and transition to a deceleration lane for Exit 43. A 12-foot acceleration lane on I-95 northbound will also be lengthened, Rolfe said.
“Not only will these structures be replaced, but they will also be widened to create operational lanes and standard shoulders,” Rossi said. “These changes will facilitate congestion relief in our area.”
According to Rolfe, the bridge replacement will allow for safer motor vehicle travel, “meaning fewer dangerous merges and crashes and less time being stuck in traffic due to minor fender benders.”
Rolfe said the project will also yield better traffic flow operations on First Avenue.
The federal government is funding 90% of the $115 million project, which is expected to begin in fall 2023 and end in summer 2027, according to the Department of Transportation.
Constructed in 1956, the bridges over the Metro-North line and First Avenue were last rehabilitated in 1988 and 1990, respectively.