A NEW EXPRESSWAY FOR THE CT 25 CORRIDOR: In 1955, the Connecticut Highway Department began studies for an expressway along the north-south CT 25 corridor from Bridgeport through Newtown. Two years later, the Connecticut state legislature enacted legislation for the relocation of CT 25 and CT 8, creating new controlled-access expressways on new rights-of-way. The original legislation called for a 19-mile-long, $30 million expressway from Long Island Sound to the proposed I-84.

The southernmost 3.8-mile section, which is multiplexed with CT 8, is an eight-lane expressway designed for a capacity of 70,000 to 90,000 vehicles per day (AADT). North of the CT 25-CT 8 junction in Trumbull, the six-lane section of the CT 25 was planned with a design capacity of up to 40,000 vehicles per day. Further north, the four-lane section of CT 25 near I-84 was to have had a design capacity of up to 25,000 vehicles per day.

The proposed CT 25 Expressway was supported by Fairfield County, the city of Bridgeport, the town of Trumbull. The Tri-State Transportation Commission endorsed the project, placing it among its list of priority projects for completion by 1975. Opponents included community and environmental groups, who contended that the proposed expressway would promote traffic and sprawl, cut through parks and wetlands, and increase noise and air pollution.

CONSTRUCTION PROGRESSES, STALLS AND RESUMES: Work began on isolated sections of the CT 25 Expressway in 1970 in the Trumbull area. In 1972, the Bridgeport section of the CT 8 Expressway that connects to the CT 25 Expressway opened to traffic.

Preliminary work in the immediate vicinity of the Merritt Parkway (CT 15) was stopped by order of Governor Meskill in 1973 out of concern for preserving the rural character of the parkway. Nevertheless, construction of the CT 25 Expressway continued north of the interchange, and by 1975, a 2.5-mile, six-lane stretch north of Trumbull was built at a cost of $19.2 million. Because there were no entrance or exit ramps to any connecting roads, the expressway was rendered useless.

In 1976, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) published a new environmental impact statement (EIS) for the completion of the CT 25 Expressway from the CT 8 Expressway in Trumbull north to I-84 in Newtown. The proposal called for interchanges at the following locations:

EXIT 6: Old Town Road in Trumbull, partial diamond interchange (southbound exit only)
EXIT 7: CT 127 (White Plains Road) in Trumbull, partial diamond interchange (northbound exit only)
EXIT 8: CT 15 (Merritt Parkway) in Trumbull, stack interchange (later revised)
EXIT 9: Daniels Farm Road in Trumbull, diamond interchange
EXIT 10: CT 111 (Monroe Turnpike) in Trumbull, partial cloverleaf interchange
EXIT 11: existing CT 25 (Main Street) in Botsford, diamond interchange
EXIT 12: extended CT 110 (Huntington Turnpike) in Botsford, diamond interchange
EXIT 13: High Bridge Road in Botsford, diamond interchange
EXIT 14: I-84 (Yankee Expressway) in Newtown, semi-directional "T" interchange

In 1978, Stanley J. Pac, the state commissioner of environmental protection, gave conditional approval for the completion of the CT 25 Expressway through Trumbull. The approval only covered the section from the CT 8 Expressway north to the intersection of CT 111 and existing CT 25. To meet air pollution rules, Pac ruled that this segment could not open until February 1983.

In an unusual twist, Pac also ruled that theoretically, the expressway must be closed after February 1991 because of an expected increase in auto emissions generated by the expressway. Although this stipulation was unusual, environmental officials believed at the time that such limitations would become more commonplace in the future. They believed that in order to prevent closure of the expressway, ConnDOT might try offsetting measures such as limiting traffic on the road at various times.

Construction of the expressway, including the controversial interchange with the Merritt Parkway, continued through the early 1980's. The 6.1-mile section of the CT 25 Expressway, which currently terminates at the intersection of CT 111 and existing CT 25 at the northern edge of Trumbull, opened to traffic in 1983.

According to ConnDOT, the CT 25 Expressway carries approximately 30,000 vehicles per day (AADT) through the Trumbull area. (Along the CT 8 Expressway section dually signed with CT 25, the route carries approximately 80,000 vehicles per day.)

This 1999 photo shows the CT 25 Expressway looking north from EXIT 9 (Daniels Farm Road) in Trumbull. (Photo by Steve Anderson.)

EXTENDING THE EXPRESSWAY TO I-84: Acting on the 1957 state legislation that created the CT 25 Expressway corridor, the Connecticut Highway Department devised its first plans on the route of the expressway in 1959. Beginning as an eight-lane freeway through urbanized areas in Bridgeport, the route was to narrow to four lanes after it separated from the CT 8 Expressway in Trumbull. The CT 25 Expressway was to terminate at I-84 (Yankee Expressway), EXIT 11. (This "semi-directional T" interchange, which was built to serve the CT 25 Expressway, actually serves the CT 34 surface road.) Completion of the expressway was originally scheduled for 1965.

In its 1966 report,
Transportation 1985: A Regional Plan, the Tri-State Transportation Commission stated the purpose and benefits of the CT 25 Expressway as follows:

The completion of the CT 25 Expressway through the Greater Bridgeport Planning Region will provide a connection between new industrial areas and Interstate routes. It will also serve fast growing suburban areas north of Bridgeport.

The Tri-State Transportation Commission and the Connecticut Highway Department scheduled the completion of the route by 1975. A 1968 state report estimated that it would cost $25 million to complete the expressway.

The 1976 EIS report recommended construction of the CT 25 Expressway, but acknowledged that state and Federal permits would need to be obtained. Although the expressway was to be built with state funds, it was to be built through designated wetlands areas. The cost of completing the ten miles of the unfinished expressway from Trumbull north to Newtown was estimated at $67.8 million. However, the Tri-State Regional Planning Commission (the successor to the Tri-State Transportation Commission) approximated the cost of this unbuilt section at $106 million.

Nearly a decade later, in July 1985, ConnDOT filed a notice of intent to file an EIS report, and several freeway alignments were studied. In 1991, budgetary restrictions brought by the recession and rising public sentiment against the highway caused ConnDOT to cancel the CT 25 Expressway extension.

WIDENING PLANNED INSTEAD: Currently, ConnDOT plans to widen the existing CT 25 to four lanes between the expressway terminus in Trumbull and Mile Hill Road in Newtown. From here, ConnDOT plans to reconstruct Mile Hill Road, which will serve as the Newtown bypass road, from the end of the CT 25 Expressway north to I-84 (at EXIT 11). Turning lanes are to be added at major intersections. ConnDOT filed an environmental assessment report for the widening project in October 1997. Since the widening project was limited in scope to the existing right-of-way, no EIS report was necessary.

The last vestige of the CT 25 Expressway extension will be removed soon, when ConnDOT dismantles the three-level "semi-directional T" interchange with I-84 that was intended for the proposed expressway. As part of the I-84 long-term reconstruction project, the current EXIT 11 along I-84 will be replaced with a diamond interchange to serve Wasserman Way in Newton.

This 2000 aerial photo shows the northern terminus of the CT 25 Expressway at the intersection of CT 111 (Monroe Turnpike) in Trumbull. Oringinally planned to connect the Connecticut Turnpike (I-95) and the CT 8 Expressway with I-84 in Newtown, the CT 25 Expressway ends 11 miles short of its planned terminus. (Photo by Greg Amy.)

SOURCES: "Planning Report: Relocation of Routes 25 and 8," Connecticut Highway Department (1959); "Regional Highways: Status Report," Tri-State Transportation Commission (1962); Transportation 1985: A Regional Plan, Tri-State Transportation Commission (1969); Connecticut Highway Needs, Connecticut Highway Department (1967); Planning for the Future, Connecticut Highway Department (1968); "Meskill Scraps Merritt Parkway Plans" by Michael Knight, The New York Times (12/08/1973); "Feasibility Study, Relocation of Route 25, Monroe to Newtown," Connecticut Department of Transportation (1974); "Report Assets Fairfield Needs No New Expressways for Years" by Michael Knight, The New York Times (2/13/1975); Maintaining Mobility, Tri-State Regional Planning Commission (1975); "Connecticut Route 25, Trumbull: Administrative Action Final Environmental Impact Statement and Section 4(f) Statement," Federal Highway Administration and Connecticut Department of Transportation (1976); "Expressway Going Nowhere Going Farther" by Richard L. Madden, The New York Times (4/19/1978); Leo Auray; Jay Hogan; Dan Pagliaro; Scott Oglesby; Alexander Svirsky.

  • CT 25 shield by Ralph Herman.
  • Lightpost by Millerbernd Manufacturing Company.

CT 25 EXPRESSWAY LINKS:

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