Highway Under Exit 9 Bridge No Longer Closed: I-95 Flows Unimpeded East and West

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Image from ConnDOT traffic camera

Traffic flowing in both directions under the Exit 9 bridge. Image from a ConnDOT camera at about 11:30 a.m.

The span over the northbound-traffic lanes of Interstate 95 is now in place, as of this morning, and traffic in both directions now flows under the bridge unimpeded, three lanes northbound, four lanes southbound.

Next weekend, they install the span over the southbound-traffic side of the bridge.

Connecticut Department of Transportation officials had said they might finish each weekend’s span replacement earlier than 5 a.m. Monday, when commuters would start driving under the bridge, and a couple of posts on a ConnDOT traffic website said the work might be done at noon on Sunday, but the highway was opened earlier than that.

Here’s a look at the bridge from the ConnDOT traffic cam, looking southwest, with the southbound lanes on the right:

Image from ConnDOT traffic camera

Traffic flowing in both directions under the Exit 9 bridge. Image from a ConnDOT camera at about 11:30 a.m.

 

Compare with this image from the same camera, pointed in the same direction, about 24 hours earlier:

Traffic cam bridge at Exit 9

ConnDOT traffic cam at Exit 9

This image, from a ConnDOT traffic cam pointed southwest at the bridge, showing the left side nearly demolished.

From one of the two streaming video feeds on the i95Exit9.com website:

Live video stream on the i95Exit9.com website

This view, looking southwest, away from the bridge shows traffic flowing in all lanes on each side of the highway.

Image from i95Exit9.com website

This livestream view of the site shows no traffic on the temporary detour roadway and (barely shows) vehicles in the background (at left) moving in both directions.

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Gov Lamont’s Transportation Plan Hits CT’s Same Old Roadblocks to Reform: Cameron on Transportation

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Jim Cameron Jim Cameron 8-2-16

Jim Cameron

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As we review the details of Gov. Ned Lamont’s CT 2030 transportation plan, I have a strange sense of déjà vu. Haven’t we been through all this before?

Jim Cameron Jim Cameron 8-2-16

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

Journey back with me to 1999 when the famous Gallis Report warned that southwestern Connecticut’s transportation woes were strangling the entire state. If something wasn’t done, they warned, we would become “an economic cul de sac” in the burgeoning northeast.

The solution? Yet another study, this one undertaken by Wilbur Smith Associates for the SouthWest Regional Planning Agency (now part of WestCOG). The report specifically examined “congestion mitigation,” like doing something about our traffic problems.

The $903,000 report was submitted in February 2003 and was titled “Vision 2020.” You see the pattern — Vision 2020 morphs into CT 2030?

Rereading the report, I am struck with its many good ideas, a few of which actually came to pass:

Land use review

The idea of transit-oriented development has been embraced throughout the state with municipalities planning for dense (hopefully car-free) developments near transit hubs.

More rail station parking

While there has been some progress, many towns have wait lists for annual permits that are six or more years. And 20 years ago, who would have ev 2000 en imagined apps like Boxcar or Uber?

More bike and pedestrian options

We now have more sidewalks and bike paths as well as bike racks on buses and Metro-North.

But other ideas still haven’t happened

FlexTime, staggered work hours and van pools to lighten the rush hour. Next time you’re stuck in traffic, look around: it’s almost all SOVs (single-occupancy vehicles).

A “Smart Card” universally accepted for payment on all public transit. And free transfers from buses to trains.

A “Weigh In Motion” system to monitor trucks without long queues at seldom-open weigh stations.

But never addressed were the big (expensive) ideas

Ramp metering, like they have in California, to stop cars from piling onto Interstate 95 at will.

Closing some interchanges to make I-95 a truly interstate highway, not a local shortcut.

Adding a “zipper lane” to I-95 heading west in the morning and east in the evening — with tolls.

Running BRT (bus rapid transit) along the Route 1 corridor.

Double tracking the Danbury branch of Metro-North.

Start a “feeder barge” system to bring shipping containers from New Jersey to New England by water, not truck.

Resume rail freight service by adding a train bridge across the Hudson River.

Widen I-84 and Route 7 to four lanes.

Study the idea of high-speed ferry service along the coast.

Haven’t we heard all of this before? How many of these ideas are posed again in Lamont’s CT 2030? A lot of them.

We are not lacking in ideas, just political will. For decades, the Legislature has been unwilling to commit resources to our transportation infrastructure and economic future, instead wasting millions on more and more studies of the same problems.

All of these big ideas take money — big money. But the “No Tolls CT” folks have tapped into residents’ cynicism that anything in terms of new revenue will be misspent. They’ve intimidated lawmakers with threats of “Vote for tolls, lose at the polls” that even the bravest members can’t muster the courage to do the right thing.

____________________

Jim Cameron has been a Darien resident for more than 25 years. He is the founder of the Commuter Action Group, sits on the Merritt Parkway Conservancy board  and also serves on the Darien RTM and as program director for Darien TV79. The opinions expressed in this column, republished with permission of Hearst CT Media, are only his own. You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com.

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