State to Redesign Busy Interchange in Meriden

State officials plan to redesign one of Connecticut's busiest and most dangerous intersections.

The area where Interstates 91 and 691 meet Route 15 in Meriden is one of the most congested, drawing 195,000 drivers through Meriden and Middletown daily.

Gov. Dannel Malloy is now formulating a plan to ease congestion and improve safety.

"This area has experienced 963 accidents in a three-year period of time," Malloy said Monday.

Although safety is the top concern, it isn't the only one. Officials estimate gridlock costs Connecticut $4.2 billion each year.

"We're central in the state. Having traffic flow improved is really important to us. It's important to our economy," said Meriden Economic Development Director Juliet Burdelski.

Officials hope to open up access to now-undeveloped property. The design phase announced Monday will take a couple years to complete.

"When you compare this to the mega projects like a Waterbury viaduct or Hartford viaduct, this is likely to be an achievable project," said state Transportation Commissioner Jim Redeker.

The plan does have it critics.

"I just think it's a bad time to spend more money. I think that we need more jobs, more things going on," said Meriden resident Lois Donnelly.

Even Malloy admits the state's transportation gridlock, which he says his administration inherited, will not be solved overnight.

"This is a 30-year build out. It's going to take 30-years to undo 40-years of under-investment," the governor said.

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