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A day long community forum about proposed improvements to an 8 mile stretch of Interstate 84 in Danbury was held yesterday.  The state Department of Transportation is looking to make improvements because the layout, combined with the extremely high traffic volumes, can cause excessive delays on both the highway and connected city streets.  Current daily traffic volumes vary from 83,000 to 110,000 vehicles per day.


The number of crashes on this stretch of I-84 is approximately 350 per year.


The preliminary design stage likely won't start until 2020.  The design process usually takes three to five years.  The duration of construction depends on the preferred alternative and could vary greatly. 


On similar highway projects, the federal government has covered about 80 percent of construction costs, with the State funding the remaining 20 percent.  DOT Principal Engineer Rich Armstrong says the total amount of federal aid necessary for all of Connecticut’s transportation needs is insufficient.


Between 2009 and 2011, the DOT was preparing a draft Environmental Impact Statement & Environmental Evaluation for capacity improvements on I-84 between New York and Waterbury.  Due to a lack of funding, no further action was taken.  A Deficiencies/Needs Study, focused on Exits 1 to 11, was released during that time.  Recommendations included safety improvements for acceleration and deceleration lanes, local road improvements, widening and improving lane continuity at Exits 3-4 and 7-8, and increased capacity between Exits 3 and 8.


A Public Advisory Committee will be formed to inform and advise the Project Team and aid in steering the Project throughout the planning, design and construction processes.  The Committee will be tasked with helping share information about the project with the local stakeholders and communicating opinions and information to the Project Team from the broader community.  The Committee will include neighborhood groups, local and regional authorities, major employers, and advocacy groups.


Several alternatives will be considered.  Each concept will be developed and screened to determine whether it meets the project’s purpose and need.  Eventually, lower performing, less desirable and unreasonably priced alternatives will be removed from consideration. 

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Brian Kilmeade
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