This 2006 photo shows the eastbound CT 190 Expressway at the Pearl Street overpass in Enfield. Two carriageways were to be built for CT 190 in this area, but what was to be the westbound carriageways carries both directions of CT 190 while the eastbound carriageway to the right sits unused. (Photo by Steve Anderson.)
A NEW SPAN FOR ROUTE 190: In 1958, a public hearing was held on the fate of the Thompsonville Bridge, a two-lane narrow span crossing the Connecticut River that connected Thompsonville Road (at Burbank Street) in Suffield with Main Street (at River Street) in Enfield. Instead of rehabilitating the existing 1892 span, the Connecticut Highway Department decided to replace the old bridge with a new, more modern span one mile south of the existing Thompsonville Bridge.
According to the 1962 report Regional Highways: Status Report released by the Tri-State Transportation Commission, the new Suffield-Enfield Bridge was to be constructed initially as a two-lane span, and at a later date, a parallel two-lane span to be built. The route, now designated CT 190, was to be constructed as an expressway from I-91 in Enfield west to CT 75 in Suffield.
When construction of the new bridge started in 1964, the revised plans called for a new four-lane span. The new Suffield-Enfield Bridge and CT 190 Expressway (which was only constructed as far west as CT 159 in Suffield) opened on January 6, 1967. Although the old Thompsonville Bridge has long since been dismantled, one can still find the original pilings in the Connecticut River.
According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT), the CT 190 Expressway carries approximately 30,000 vehicles per day (AADT). There is a 40 MPH speed limit on the short expressway.
In the late 1960's, the Connecticut Highway Department proposed a 1.5-mile-long, two-lane ("super-2") extension of the CT 190 Expressway from CT 159 (East Street) west to CT 75 (Main Street) in Suffield. A short CT 159 Expressway spur was to be built from CT 190 in Suffield north into Agawam, Massachusetts, possibly extending as far north as the MA 57 Expressway (Bodhurtha Highway). The $1.5 million CT 190 connector was designated as a "priority corridor" that was scheduled for completion in 1973.
In preparation for the CT 190 Expressway extension, a 0.6-mile-long section of Bridge Street east of CT 75 was widened to 40 feet in 1968. The widening project, which created two 12-foot-wide travel lanes and two 10-foot-wide shoulders, was to accommodate the increased traffic leading to the new Suffield-Enfield Bridge. However, the ConnDOT killed the expressway project in the 1970's.
A SECOND BRADLEY CONNECTOR: In 1989, ConnDOT proposed a two-lane, controlled-access connector from CT 159 southwest to CT 20 in East Granby, terminating just west of Bradley International Airport. The "super 2" connector was to have a diamond interchange with CT 75 in Suffield. Additional land was to be set aside for an eventual expansion to a four-lane, dual-carriageway route. ConnDOT developed a draft environmental impact statement for the "20-75 Connector" (which may have been re-designated as an extension of CT 190), but did not continue to pursue this expressway proposal.
In recent years, area towns have revisited the 1989 ConnDOT proposal to relocate CT 190 from Suffield to East Granby. This time, however, the relocated CT 190 Bypass is being proposed as a four-lane divided arterial with at-grade intersections, not as an expressway. The CT 190 Bypass would be constructed in conjunction with an expanded Bradley International Airport.
SOURCES: Regional Highways: Status Report, Tri-State Transportation Commission (1962); Connecticut Highway Needs, Connecticut Highway Department (1967); Planning for the Future, Connecticut Highway Department (1968); "Route 20-75 Connector: Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Section 4(f) Statement," Federal Highway Administration and Connecticut Department of Transportation (1989); Scott Oglesby; Alexander Svirsky.
CT 190 shield by Ralph Herman. Lightpost by Millerbernd Manufacturing Company.