The state has approved $24.9 million in bonds for transportation projects, including $1 million to design and engineer the replacement of the Interstate 84 Mixmaster in Waterbury.
The Mixmaster is a soaring complex structure where Interstate 84 merges with Route 8 through Waterbury. It has become one of the most notorious areas for congestion in the state.
Malloy estimated that the final cost for a full replacement may cost tax payers "upwards of $10 billion."
Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said the first phase entails figuring out how to manage the Route 8-Interstate 84 interchange.
"It’s to take a look at the Route 8 ramp system and that connection, because we found in our inspection reports that that is going to need to have work done on it soon, rather than the full replacement," Redeker said.
As for when a design phase may be complete, Malloy said, "It’s a reasonable question but it’s a ways off and we have to get that work underway, but that’s what we start today and it’s nowhere near finished."
Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary said improving traffic patterns in the city will help people get around the greater Waterbury area, which will be good for recruiting businesses.
"Now people will come through Waterbury. It will definitely promote the city in ways it hasn’t been promoted in decades, and it’s going to be a painful process and we all recognize that. At the end of the day, it’s going to be good for the city," he said.
Redeker said the most viable option for taxpayers is to replace the Mixmaster rather than patch it and invest in repairs.
"For some of the options, the cost to sustain the facility and never replace it is almost as much as the cost of a replacement over time and so that makes no sense," Redeker said. "We should have been doing the design a long time ago."