Travel should soon be a lot smoother and safer along I-91 north in Hartford next week.
When the clock strikes midnight Wednesday, Exit 29 as we know it will be gone for good.
“Headache. Straight headache,” said Travon Jackson of New Britain.
The area leading up to the I-84 east exit is known for its bottleneck.
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“The traffic is backed up it’s a real pain,” said Jessica Thomas of Bloomfield.
“It’s always congested and there’s always like an accident there,” said Dyrom McCann Sr. of Hartford.
Tens of thousands of vehicles travel through this area of 1-91 north in Hartford every day, according to Connecticut’s Department of Transportation.
Traffic there has had drivers frustrated for three decades now.
“I used to drive by this in 1991 when that ramp opened and I looked at it and I thought, 'This is not going to work,'" said CT DOT district engineer Donald Ward.
The soon-to-be-opened left side exit is part of the long-awaited Charter Oak Bridge Congestion Buster Project, which has now cost the state about $240 million.
“When the exit opens, you will be on the left side of the road as far back as Wethersfield. You don’t have to slow down, you don’t have to merge, just continue,” said CT DOT project Engineer Juan Ruiz.
“A lot of people get in a lot of accidents trying to cut people off to get on to 84, and so it will be a lot easier for a lot of people. The police department, the fire department and all that,” said Jerome Grant of Windsor.
CT DOT told NBC Connecticut from January 2018 through April of this year, there were more than 370 crashes in this area with 85 injuries.
“It can get a little dangerous and a little twisty, especially if you don’t know and you don’t drive it every single day,” said Jackson.
The new exit 29 will first open up with one lane. It will expand into two lanes next year.
“It could have been sooner we all wish it was done years ago, but perfect timing for the summer getaways for everyone,” said Ward.
“I can’t wait for it to be done because it is a nightmare,” said Jackson.