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I-84 project in Danbury named one of the country’s biggest ‘boondoggles’

HARTFORD — A construction project in Danbury has been named one of the worst in the country.

The Connecticut Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and the Frontier Group narrowed down nine of the most wasteful highway projects across America.

Their report, “Highway Boondoggles” identified the I-84 expansion in Danbury as a waste of $715 million and say traffic in the area has not increased in the last decade.

The report supports prioritizing rail and transit upgrades over widening highways.

Federal data shows more than 300 Connecticut bridges are structurally deficient that’s about 8 percent of all bridges in the state. Also, more than half of Connecticut public roads are in poor condition.

Other projects named in the report were:

  • I-405 Widening, California, $1.9 billion – Widening one of the nation’s busiest stretches of Interstate highway in Orange County would draw new traffic to the road, create new bottlenecks, and replicate the failed approach to congestion relief of an earlier I-405 widening project in Los Angeles.
  • I-4 “Beyond the Ultimate,” Florida, $1.3 billion to $4 billion – The construction of tolled express lanes along 40 miles of highway has been pitched, in part, as a way to avoid bottlenecks created by another $2 billion highway expansion project now underway in Orlando.
  • I-75 North Truck Lanes, Georgia, $2 billion – Construction of the nation’s first long-haul, truck-only lanes would represent a giveaway to the trucking industry while undermining a rail-based approach to freight movement in Georgia that is intended to get trucks off the roads.
  • I-84 Expansion, Connecticut, $715 million – Proposed widening of I-84 in Danbury directs state funds to a road where traffic has barely increased in the last decade, even amid growing demand for better rail service and severe state budget woes.
  • State Routes 53/120, Illinois, $2.3 billion – A proposed toll road in the Chicago suburbs would jeopardize the environment and lacks a viable funding plan.
  • I-66 “Inside the Beltway” expansion, Virginia, $140 million – A bold plan to reimagine a suburban D.C. highway and expand access to transportation alternatives is accompanied by a politically motivated highway widening project.
  • I-30 Widening, Arkansas, $632 million – Widening a highway that cuts through the heart of Little Rock would impede the city’s downtown revival while potentially causing as many transportation problems as it solves.
  • I-73, South Carolina, $1.3 billion – A proposal for a new Interstate linking I-95 to Myrtle Beach is unnecessary, environmentally damaging, and would divert money from a growing crisis in road maintenance in the Palmetto State.
  • Madison Beltline widening, Wisconsin, unknown – The budget-strapped state of Wisconsin, which has already delayed other highway projects, continues to consider the widening of a highway around Madison, even as demands grow for more and better public transportation.

Source: Doug Stewart

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