Connecticut’s elected officials are hoping to use billions of federal dollars to reimagine Connecticut’s capital city and region. One plan could completely change the route through downtown Hartford.
“I-84 meeting I-91...How many times have you been stuck on it?,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal asked.
Blumenthal said reimagining Hartford by changing the I-84 and I-91 interchange and reconnecting the city to the river will cost billions of dollars.
“Somewhere between $10, $20 billion, which is a fraction of the president’s total is probably realistic,” he added.
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Congressman John Larson who pitched a tunnel through Hartford four years ago says the new plan being developed by Hartford 400 is realistic.
Hartford 400 is focused on transforming the capital city in time for its 400th birthday in 2035.
“This is to get back to the river and also to try and dismantle some of the interchange that we have that has taken up so much of our valuable land,” Jackie Mandyck said.
Mandyck who has been heading up Hartford 400 said it’s a transformative plan.
“This is a significant national project. So we feel very confident in both its funding and the long term vision we are presenting,” Larson sid.
The plan moves the interchange between I-84 and I-91 to two separate locations north and south of downtown and puts both highways underground for significant portions of their path through the city.
“This is not going to happen overnight. This is going to take five to 10 to 15 years for us to totally complete all of this,” Larson added.
How much will it cost?
“Yes, it’s going to be billions of dollars. The question is what is going to be needed to achieve that,” Larson said.
Blumenthal says “the people of Hartford deserve the north end to be connected to the downtown, the city to be reconnected to the river.”
Blumenthal said it’s ambitious.
“It’s bold," the senator said. "It repairs past mistakes made maybe with good intentions, but the mistakes in dividing our city, people divided from each other. Areas of our state divided from each other. Those mistakes need to be repaired."