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Engineers still looking at future of I-84 in Hartford

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HARTFORD -- Call it an eyesore, or a headache--either way, it's literally on its last legs.

The I-84 viaduct, the elevated stretch of I-84 that runs through downtown Hartford, has reached the end of its designed lifespan and needs to be replaced, demolished, or rebuilt.

"We're starting to dig a little deeper in terms of which of these alternatives, which of these options are going to rise to the top and meet all of the goals and objectives of the project and hopefully meet the desires of the community," said Richard Armstrong, project engineer with the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

There are currently three viable options on the table: bury the road underground and make it a tunnel, rebuild the viaduct, or create a level-grade road. The tunnel was a popular option, but the price tag of $12 billion has forced engineers to put that option on the back burner.

Whatever the decision, neighbors who live around the viaduct hope it will help to reconnect two sided of a torn city.

"It's probably the most important infrastructure issue for 50 years," said Tori Gold of the West End Civic Association. "Just the way [the road] tore up the city in 1960, it can now help restore it."

No decisions have been made yet, and the DOT is still seeking public input on the project. An open forum is planned for August 12 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Parkville Community & Senior Center in Hartford.

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