Hartford Courant: Highway Removal Could Heal the City

In an editorial published this weekend, the Hartford Courant lauded civic advocates for their efforts to “heal” the city of Hartford through the removal of the Aetna viaduct, an elevated portion of I-84 that cuts through the heart of the city.  The 40-year-old road, which bisects the North End and Asylum Hill areas from the Capitol and the downtown area, reached the end of its projected life in 2005.

When ConnDOT initially proposed to repair and prop up the viaduct, civic groups, businesses, and neighborhood associations, led by Tri-State board member Toni Gold, urged the State and City to rethink the plans.  Four years later, ConnDOT, Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez and the advocates have secured federal and city funding to conduct an alternatives study that would analyze whether decking, boulevarding or diverting the current highway traffic is possible.

A teardown of the Viaduct, the newspaper wrote, could be “one of the greatest feats of civic activism in the city’s long history.”


3 Comments on "Hartford Courant: Highway Removal Could Heal the City"

  1. Great article! Maybe Route 34 and the Viaduct could be done with the same pool of money. These roads are blights on our landscape.

  2. Clark Morris | June 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm |

    So how would I84 users get through the area. As someone who has used I84 to get from New York to Nova Scotia, I would have been happy to bypass Hartford.

  3. Joe Russo | June 26, 2009 at 4:15 pm |

    Hartford of all cities does not have a complete circumferential highway, which is an unforgivable omission by ConnDOT given that it is in the middle of the State. This forces all the traffic through the downtown, big mistake!

    But glad to see Hartford now starting to think out of the box and look at some real options.


    1) Build the circumferential now by linking up the fragments I-291, Rt. 3 and Rt. 9 so that there is at least a semblance of one…it’s not going to be easy because after 50 years of suburbanization no one will want it built…there’ll be lots of opposition…

    2) Redesignate I-84 to the new circumferential route,
    the rebuild the old I-84 as a boulevard…extend light rail east and west along the old corridor into East Hartford to Manchester CT.

    3) Boston should have done something like this instead of the horrific Big Dig…closing down the Central Artery and replacing everything with boulevards and high speed rail…from Braintree to Medford…but that’s too much out of the box thinking in a country that is just waking up from its 60 year slumber….

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