State Senator McLachlan, Danbury Mayor Boughton & Greater Danbury Officials Meet with DOT to Discuss Status of Key Transportation Projects

October 19, 2009

Hartford, CT – State Senator Michael McLachlan (R- Danbury) today joined with Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and members of the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (HVCEO) for a meeting with the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, Joseph Marie. Senator McLachlan requested the meeting with Commissioner Marie in a letter dated September 28th, 2009 (attached) after learning that several key transportation and infrastructure projects in the greater Danbury area had lost their priority ranking for 2010.

“Traffic congestion is a major issue for the people living in the southwestern part of the state,” said Senator McLachlan. “Not only are important projects, like the widening of roads and intersection upgrades, essential to alleviating the traffic and tie-ups that are a daily occurrence in this area of the state, they are also essential to the safety of drivers. I fully understand that these tough economic times make it especially challenging to continue funding for many projects but all we are asking for is to be provided with a clear understanding of why these projects have been put on hold.”

The projects on tap for the greater Danbury area were set to cost nearly $46 million. Some of the projects discussed at today’s meeting are:

* Project # 0034-0313: I-84 Interchange 6 improvements & Route 37 improvements to No. Street Shopping Center

* Project # 0034-0288: Route 6 widening from Kenosia Avenue to I-84

* Project # 0034-0305: Route 37 at Stacey Road – intersection improvements

* Project # 0034-0324: Route 53 at Coal Pit Hill Road & Triangle Street Intersection

* Project # 0034-0309: SR 806 – Newtown Road at Shelter Rock Road

* Project # 0034-0328: Intersection of Main Street (Route 53 & Route 39) Downs Street (SR 841) and North Street – Route 37 & Replacement of Bridge #0955

* Project # 0034-0308: I-84 Danbury to Newtown: Various Interchange Modifications

The projects listed above are part of a Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). STIP balances the projected cost of various transportation projects throughout the state with the estimated available funding. Federal regulations indicate that the prioritization of these projects should be a cooperative effort between the Department of Transportation and the regions affected by the projects.

Senator McLachlan expressed particular concern over Project # 0034-0313: The I-84 Interchange Exit 6 and North Street. This project was slated to be done during 2009 however, the DOT informed Senator McLachlan that this project is now also on hold. In addition, Senator McLachlan expressed concern that members of the HVCEO weren’t involved in the prioritization process at all. In fact, HVCEO asked DOT staff to be involved in the prioritization process on 5.26.2009 but were never included.

“These projects have spent years going through the lengthy prioritization process and the people in the greater Danbury area are expecting, and deserve, some progress,” said Senator McLachlan. “I appreciate Commissioner Marie meeting with us today but I believe that the status of these projects should be reevaluated and I look forward to continuing to work with the DOT to get these projects rolling as soon as possible.”