HARTFORD -- Keep an eye on those exit signs because the numbers are changing.
Connecticut is now among the growing number of states that are moving to a mileage-based system when it comes to exit numbering. The numbers originally went sequentially.
"We're not going around and removing perfectly good exit signs and replacing them and spending money just to re-number them," said Kevin Nursick, the spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Transportation. "We're doing it because all of those signs are at the end of their useful life. They're no longer reflective, we can't see them well at night, and the lettering is very faded. So we're replacing them out of necessity, and when we do that, we bring them up to the newest standards."
The standards are set by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Administration, and as Connecticut interstates undergo road construction, they will be updated to the new exit numbers. The entire state is expected to convert to the new system over the next 20 years.
I-395 from East Lyme to Wilsonville is the first Connecticut interstate to get the new system based on mileage. For example, exit 77 (Route 85) would change to Exit 2 since it is located approximately 2 miles away from the start of I-395 in East Lyme. The number scheme varies by direction. For roads that run east to west, numbers begin low from their origin point in the east and increase the further west you go. North and south roads begin low in the south and go up the further north you go.
There will be a roughly two-year grace period before the old exit numbers are fully phased out, giving ample time for publications and businesses to update anything.
"This underscores the importance of having an up to date map whether it's a paper map, or digital map, and updating your GPS device with the latest map available from the manufacturer., " said Aaron Kupec, a spokesman for AAA.
The next roads to get updated exit numbers will be I-95 and Route 8. Construction is scheduled to begin at some time in 2015.