ConnDOT: Gov. Malloy: Innovative Solution to Long-Standing Route 9 Traffic Issues

FOR RELEASE: June 24, 2016
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Gov. Malloy: Innovative Solution to Long-Standing Route 9 Traffic Issues

Middletown Traffic Signals to be Removed; Pedestrian Bridge from Downtown to Riverside Park



      Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the Connecticut Department of Transportation today announced plans to resolve several long-standing traffic issues along Route 9 in Middletown – plans that include raising the highway, removing two traffic signals now on the highway, a reconfiguring of entrance/exit ramps and a bicycle/pedestrian bridge connecting downtown Middletown and the park along the Connecticut River.


      “The Route 9 traffic lights have been a source of frustration for motorists heading to and through Middletown and I want to commend the DOT for what I believe is a reasoned proposal to enhance safety and improve the flow of traffic,” said Governor Malloy. “At the same time, we will be making the city more attractive to bicyclists, pedestrians and the public in general.”


      “Our engineers have come up with innovative concepts to address complex issues that have confounded drivers for decades,” said CTDOT Commissioner James P. Redeker. “Everyone – drivers, pedestrians, the business community – wins. We will be refining plans over the coming months and years and welcome community involvement and input. But from the reaction so far, people are excited about these proposals.”


       “This will fundamentally alter, for the better, the quality of life and the economy in Middletown for generations to come,” said Middletown Mayor Daniel T. Drew.  “It will mean that downtown Middletown will be easier to access for the city and the entire region.”


      “The stop lights on Route 9 have been an issue in Middlesex County since I first started at the chamber in 1983,” said Larry McHugh, President of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. “This is the first plan that I have seen that protects access to downtown Middletown while addressing the massive backups and safety issues that occur on both Route 9 North and South. The chamber looks forward to being a constructive partner throughout the public engagement process, and I applaud the Department of Transportation for its vision and for its approach to this project.”


      The plans, which are still in the conceptual stage, call for Route 9 southbound to be raised to cross the existing intersections at Hartford Avenue/St. John’s Square and Washington Street via two new bridges.  There will also be relatively minor changes in access involving the removal of the existing Exit 16 northbound off-ramp onto Hartford Avenue/St. John’s Square and the existing Exit 15 southbound off-ramp onto Washington Street. Route 9 Southbound traffic will enter the City of Middletown using Exit 16 (Hartford Avenue/St. John’s Square) and/or Exit 14 (deKoven Drive) and northbound traffic will use Exit 15 (Washington Street). Consolidating these exit ramps and raising Route 9 Southbound eliminates all the conflicting movements at the two intersections and allows the signals on Route 9 to be removed.  Traffic operations at Washington Street and deKoven Drive will also be improved by installing a roundabout allowing traffic to flow freely without a signal.


      Improvements will be included along Main Street to address additional traffic that is expected due to the traffic pattern changes associated with the work on Route 9.  Sidewalk “bump-outs” will be installed at all the crosswalks to extend the existing sidewalks out to the edge of the existing angled parking along Main Street.  This improvement will shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians, creating a safer crossing while still accommodating all existing movements by all vehicle types, including trucks. The bump-outs also allow the pedestrian signal phase timing to be shortened so additional green time can be allocated to Main Street, thereby improving traffic flow despite the additional traffic volume using Main Street.


      Finally, a connection for pedestrians and bicyclists between downtown Middletown and the park along the Connecticut River will be provided by installing a new pedestrian bridge over Route 9 and deKoven Drive.  This new bridge will be aligned and connected with the existing Riverview Plaza walkway providing an attractive direct connection between Main Street and the riverfront.


      The engineering design for this project is just being initiated and is expected to be completed in 2020; construction would begin in 2021 and be completed in 2023. The project is expected to cost about $75 million – with funding based on an 80 percent federal /20 percent state split.