Route 11 Study Begins... Again

May 23, 2011

Governor Malloy announced today the state will re-start the planning process for the completion of Route 11. The highway now stops in Salem, but the original plan was to extend it to I - 95 in Waterford. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports Malloy is open to putting tolls on the road.

Congressman Joe Courtney says when President Obama attended the Coast Guard Academy graduation in New London last week, he was a little late.

“The fact that the President had to drive from Bradley to New London and take the zig-zag route, which we all deal with everyday, has nothing to do with the timing of this announcement, but it doesn’t hurt that he kind of shares our pain.”

The announcement is the Federal Highway Administration is making about $4.4 million dollars available, that was previously appropriated, to complete a study of finishing Route 11. An additional $600,000 in matching funds is coming from the state.  Courtney says extending Route 11 is key to unlocking the economy in southeastern Connecticut.

Governor Dannel Malloy says environmental concerns will be built into the analysis and the design from the start.

“In next two and a half years it’s our intention to close all of those loops so we can, I believe, ultimately move this project forward.”

D.E.P. Commissioner Dan Esty says the environmental assessments will be updated.

“There are going to be questions about habitat disruption, around wetlands, and particularly whether critters can get across the highway.”

'Would that mean building tunnels for turtles?' one reporter asked the Governor.

“I like turtles. Do you not like turtles? Whether it’s turtles or salamanders or owls or whatever what you’ll find out in examining what’s happened in the last twenty years, if you build those considerations in in the beginning it’s a lot less expensive.”

Malloy says it’s not clear yet how much it would cost to finish the road.  Survey and environmental work will begin this summer.