OLD LYME — In a $29 million project slated for 2028, the historically dangerous southbound stretch of I-95 between exits 71 and 72 will be combined to include a frontage road and stoplight, creating safer driving conditions according to state officials.
“This area of I-95 includes a short weaving section between the Exit 72 on-ramp and Exit 71 off-ramp, which results in frequent crashes and traffic congestion,” Kafi Rouse, director of communications for the Connecticut Department of Transportation, wrote in an email to CT Examiner on Wednesday.
“Safety and operational improvements can be achieved by reconfiguring this interchange by combining and relocating Exits 71 and 72 southbound and extending the on-ramps to provide vehicles additional time to accelerate and merge onto the interstate,” Rouse said.
The project is in its conceptual stages and is estimated at $29 million, said Josh Morgan, spokesman for the state department of transportation.
Exit 72 provides access to the Rocky Neck Connector in East Lyme. Exit 71 connects to Four Mile River Road in Old Lyme.
Sam Gold, executive director of RiverCOG, which includes Old Lyme, said the project “will reduce the friction and the hazards in between the exits of 71 and 72, and will reduce accidents.”
Gold said project funding was approved as an amendment to the FY 21-24 Transportation Improvement Program at Wednesday morning’s meeting of RiverCOG and Lower Connecticut River Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization. The Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, is an ongoing list of projects scheduled to receive federal funding within a four-year period.
Amanda Kennedy, executive director of the Southeastern Connecticut Council, which includes East Lyme, told CT Examiner that her staff has reviewed the project information with the Department of Transportation staff.
“Our executive committee has voted to recommend approval of the TIP amendment at our December 20 meeting,” she said.
Planning and engineering of the project are expected to begin in 2024 and completed in 2027.
“This proposed project is currently in early design, and we continue discussing the project with our local community partners. As the project moves forward, a public information meeting will be held, with construction anticipated to begin in 2028,” said Rouse.