A SHORT SPUR TO GROTON: First planned as the "Defense Access Highway" with a "secret" route designation of CT 649, the CT 349 Expressway was built to provide access between I-95 and the military and industrial plants that dot the east bank of the Thames River in Groton. The four-lane route is a full controlled-access freeway from I-95 south to Meridian Street, and is a four-lane arterial from Meridian Street south to Rainville Road. At its northern terminus, there is a "directional-T" interchange with I-95.

Planning for the connector began in 1963, and soon afterward, the Connecticut Highway Department held public hearings in Groton. Unlike many other highways in the state, CT 349 was met with nearly unanimous support from politicians and the business community. The highway was completed in 1966.

In 1985, the Defense Access Highway was formally renamed after Clarence B. Sharp, the former president of the Groton Chamber of Commerce and a proponent of the highway. Around this time, the CT 349 designation first appeared on the Clarence B. Sharp Highway.

WHY THE SKEW AWAY FROM NEW LONDON? In almost counterintuitive fashion, the orientation of the northern terminus of CT 349 is toward the north and east, away from the population center of nearby New London. State highway officials said that an already complex interchange exists at EXITS 85-86 (US 1, CT 12, and CT 184) on I-95, and that a direct north-south link to I-95 would have resulted in a more complicated, multi-level interchange that would have been aesthetically unpleasant, and would have required many more property takings.

SOURCES: "Inventory of Limited-Access Highways in Connecticut," Connecticut Department of Transportation (2000); Scott Oglesby.

  • CT 349 shield by Barry L. Camp.
  • Lightpost by Millerbernd Manufacturing Company.




  • CT 349 Expressway

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