Our exhibit, Making Connecticut, showcases over 500 objects, images, and documents from the CHS collection. “What is this?” posts will highlight an object from the exhibit and explore its importance in Connecticut history every other week. What is this object? What is the story behind it? To find out more,
The Coordinated Transportation for Hartford was prepared by the Hartford Department of Engineering in 1947 in response to the growing traffic problems that suffocated the city. The plan called for an expressway that would circle around and loop the center district of the city and offer exit ramps along the way. This would have removed automobiles from the crowded downtown streets and onto the expressway, erasing all of the conflicts that are associated with city travel. This expressway would have been similar in function as the Berlin Turnpike today. Parkways, similar in design to the current Merritt Parkway, were also planned to extend off the loop. One would be built along Park Street and the other along Homestead Avenue.The overall plan was never built, and instead, Interstate 84 was developed in the 1950s and 60s. Some of the I-84 footprint can be seen in the plans for the East-West Express; yet another expressway that would have been built off of the downtown loop.
The plan also recommends areas for multiple-floor parking lots and truck depots to further alleviate congestion along the city streets.
Imagine how different the city would have been if these were installed. Would it have had to same impact as I-84 currently is to downtown Hartford?
Mike Messina is the Interpretive Projects Associate at the Connecticut Historical Society.