WATERBURY -- One of the most congested highway interchanges in Connecticut is now undergoing construction.
"We’ve got to get this transportation system moving," said Governor Ned Lamont. "We do not get Connecticut growing again until we get Connecticut moving again."
The Mixmaster in Waterbury is the section where I-84 and Route 8 intermingle. Originally built in the 1960s for 60,000 cars, today the elevated highway supports 180,000 cars a day.
The Malloy administration allocated $200 million starting in June 2018 for construction on the Mixmaster. It’s supposed to be complete by 2022. Governor Lamont is continuing those plans.
Enhancements are expected to be viable for 20 years until the Mixmaster can get redesigned and rebuilt to better suit traffic. Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti said there’s not enough money in the budget to rebuild the whole Mixmaster now.
"Right now to do the entire thing will be in the billions of dollars to just fix it so that it is safe and can continue is going to cost $200 million," said Giulietti.
The current project would not reduce congestion on the Mixmaster, but would make sure it's safe to drive on. Governor Lamont continued to push tolls Monday, saying with help from an anticipated federal infrastructure plan and revenue from a toll system in Connecticut, the Government would be able to fix the 1,500 miles of road and 248 bridges that are in poor condition across the state, including the Mixmaster.
"We’re going to have the funding in place to keep doing projects like this that we need to do over the next two or three years," said Lamont, "We’re going to make that happen."
Governor Lamont has pitched two plans for tolls in his budget. One of them includes tolling trucks only and the other, which he said will bring in the needed revenue, includes tolling for trucks and cars. His support of the second plan is a reversal from what he campaigned on, which was tolling trucks only.
Former Governor Dannel Malloy got approved a $10 million bond authorization for a study on electronic tolls in July 2018. The study has not started yet and Governor Lamont said he is postponing it until the General Assembly makes a decision on tolls.