Transportation board aims to reduce I-91 traffic

Tolls on Interstate 91 could soon return.

The Transportation Investment Area board for the I-91 corridor released its final report this week for reducing congestion on the road, proposing toll collection and the installation of two cranes in New Haven Harbor as potential remedies for the road’s heavy traffic.

The I-91 board is one of five in the state. The Connecticut Transportation Strategy Board will compile all of the five boards’ reports into a final transportation strategy plan by Jan. 15.

The report focuses on reducing traffic on I-91. The highway’s merge with Interstate 95 in New Haven and its merge with Interstate 84 in Hartford are particularly congested stretches of roadway.

Connecticut abolished toll booths from I-91 in the 1970s. The board’s six-page report recommends tolls that do not require toll booths to discourage highway use and as a method for collecting statistics.

“That was among other wild ideas that people mentioned for getting people off the road,” said Linda Krause, a member of the I-91 board.

To keep trucks off the highway, the report calls for establishing container barge service for the port of New Haven, which would require purchasing two cranes.

A main focus of any transportation strategy most likely will include integrated commuter services between New Haven and Springfield, Mass. The I-91 board also recommended studying the feasibility of providing a rail link to Bradley International Airport.

In addition, the report suggests that transportation improvements could make I-91 a corridor for technological corporations, following the model of Route 128 in Massachusetts.

–Marc Wiznia

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