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Connecticut stretches of interstate highway among most congested, deteriorated in US

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I95HARTFORD–Everyone has a number-one hated road. “I can’t stand I-95 in Stamford!” or “The New Haven interchange is a nightmare!” are current refrains heard in Connecticut.

Now, there’s proof that it’s not just you.

As the U.S. Interstate Highway System marks its 60th anniversary this week, TRIP, a national transportation research group, released data on states with the worst highways, and Connecticut came in among the top.

The report ranked Connecticut’s urban interstate areas as having the third-highest rate of vehicles per mile in each lane, with 15,391 vehicles traveling each mile of each lane of interstate each day. Connecticut interstates are also the eighth-most congested, with 60 percent of our urban interstates congested during peak hours on any given day.

Another standout observation was that 7 percent of interstate bridges are structurally deficient, which is the fight-highest in the nation, and 19 percent are functionally obsolete.

Credit: TRIP

Credit: TRIP

Also, 14 percent of Connecticut interstate pavements are in poor or mediocre condition, compared to the national rate of 12 percent.

The Interstate Highway System accounts for just 2.5 percent of lane miles of road in the U.S., but carries 25 percent of all vehicle travel in the country, creating congestion and deteriorating roads at a quicker rate than we can repair them. Truck travel is especially responsible for the issues, as is the increasing number of vehicles on the road in general–the report says that since 2000, travel on the IHS is increasing two times faster than lane capacity is being added.

The current backlog of repairs needed on the IHS is estimated by the U.S. Department of Transpiration to be $189 billion, but our investment is just 61 percent of what is needed to keep highways running in good condition.

The Interstate Highway System was created in the 1950s to promote interstate commerce and provide evacuation routes for natural emergencies, but “neither of these functions are now served by our present system,” said Jack Condlin, president and CEO of the Stamford Chamber of Commerce. “Connecticut and the northeast are the poster child for congestion. Federal funding is the life blood that is needed to solve the Interstate system challenges. The time to act is now.”