Connecticut governor seeks funding to fix I-84 viaduct

Gov. Dan Malloy said Connecticut is focused on finding a long-term solution to fund key transportation projects, particularly the replacement of Hartford's Interstate 84 viaduct, a major thoroughfare for New England.

Malloy said the transportation system has reached the end of its useful life. The cost of replacing the 2.5 miles of bridge is estimated to cost between $4 billion and $10 billion, and represents about 30 acres of raised bridge work.

“It’s a pretty big and daunting issue,” the governor said at an on-site briefing to discuss infrastructure. “It was designed to serve the needs of 50,000 to 55,000 cars a day -- it envisioned other systems being built that were never built -- as a result it services about 175,000 cars a day, part of the 12 million car trips that are made every day in Connecticut."

The transportation system has recently seen about $60 million of investment and will see another $60 million of investment until the state decides on how to fund the repairs. The state is assuming it will continue to receive roughly the same amount of federal transportation funding, which is about $650 million a year. Certain projects, such as rail and bus lines, may qualify for other funding sources. But Malloy said he included the costs for developing the design of the bridge replacement project in his budget plan.

The state will decide between three major options for the viaduct replacement, including a partially sunken roadway. Tunneling through Hartford is less likely because it is the most expensive option, Malloy said.

The governor formed a panel in late March to analyze and recommend options for the state to finance its transportation infrastructure over the next 30 years. Malloy earlier announced a two-part plan consisting of a five-year ramp-up that uses $10 billion in capital funding to pay for the most critical infrastructure needs in the state, leading up to a 30-year plan using $100 billion in funding.