A WESTERLY BYPASS OF DOWNTOWN HARTFORD: The Cedar Ridge Connector was first proposed in the 1950's as the "Newington Avenue Connector," providing a highway link between the East-West Expressway (I-84, then known as "Relocated US 6") and CT 176. Some studies at the time recommended extending the connector south to meet Berlin Turnpike (US 5 and CT 15) in Wethersfield.

In 1961, the state formally adopted the extended route of the Cedar Ridge Connector as part of a "Relocated Route 9" Expressway. Two years later, the state dropped the CT 9 designation from the connector, replacing it with the secret CT 504 designation. However, the purpose of the highway was by no means secret: it was to provide a westerly bypass of downtown Hartford by linking Berlin Turnpike with I-84. It was to also provide a connection with the unbuilt CT 71 Expressway, a four-lane route that was to extend west to New Britain. Together with the Woods River Expressway (CT 189), it was to provide a link to Hartford's northwest suburbs.

The Cedar Ridge Connector was scheduled for construction after 1975. It was included in 1964 plans for long-range expressway construction released by the New York-based Regional Plan Association (RPA). However, in the next statewide plan released in 1968, the state did not include the connector.

THE CONNECTOR LIVES ON: Vestiges of the Cedar Ridge Connector can be found at the multi-lane ramps for EXIT 45 (Flatbush Avenue) along I-84 in Hartford. The ramps have retained their CT 504 designation. Connections are only provided from westbound I-84 to southbound CT 504, and from northbound CT 504 to eastbound I-84. However, the connector may not live on much longer, as ConnDOT may consider replacing the elaborate I-84 / CT 504 interchange with a full-diamond interchange.

SOURCES: Connecticut Highway Needs, Connecticut Highway Department (1967); Planning for the Future, Connecticut Highway Department (1968); Scott Oglesby.


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