Modern tolls use overhead gantries like this one on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Arnold Reinhold | Creative Commons

These are the 14 bridges that would be rebuilt or improved with money raised by tolls under Gov. Ned Lamont’s new CT2030 plan. The exact placement of the tolling gantries is unclear — though one of them is effectively in New York, thanks to an oddity of the interstate highway system.

Base charges would be 50 cents or $1 for cars, $1.25 to $2.50 for medium-sized trucks and $3.50 to $7 for heavy trucks, with a 20-percent discount with a Connecticut EZ pass transponder.

Within a 24-hour period, any vehicle equipped with a transponder would not pay more than one round-trip user fee per gantry. Commuters without a transponder will be billed by mail and pay a 25% to 50% higher rate.

With a discount, the car ride from New Haven to Greenwich on I-95 would hit three 40-cent tolls and cost an EZ Pass holder $1.20. A drive between Danbury and Waterbury would hit two tolls and could cost between 80 cents and $1.60.

A look at the entire CT2030 plan.

One of the bridges with minimal impact on Connecticut commuters carries I-684 across the Byram River in Greenwich. It is located in Connecticut, but it is on a stretch of I-684 that  juts into New York and cannot be accessed from any local road in the state. In fact, New York plows the stretch during snow storms, but Connecticut is responsible for the upkeep of the bridge.

These are the projects to be financed  by tolls and their construction cost.

  • I-95 over Metro-North in Stamford. Cost: $20 million to $25 million.
  • I-95 in Norwalk and Westport. Cost: $70 million to $130 million.
  • I-95 West Haven, reconstructing Exit 43 and replace bridge over Metro-North. Cost $65 million  to $90 million.
  • I-95 East Lyme, interchange improvements and bridge replacement. Cost: $140 million to $220 million.
  • I-95 New London and Groton, Gold Star bridge reconstruction. Cost: $300 million to $415 million.
  • I-84 Newtown,  reconstruct Rochambeau Bridge over the Housatonic River. Cost: $70 million to $110 million.
  • I-84 Waterbury, reinforcing the mixmaster. $235 million to $260 million.
  • I-84 West Hartford, replacing crossing over Berkshire Road. Cost $75 million to $110 million.
  • I-91 Hartford, Charter Oak Bridge improvements. Cost: $300 million to $330 million.
  • I-395 Plainfield, reconstruction bridge over Moosup River. Cost: $15 million to $20 million.
  • Route 8 Waterbury, strengthen bridges south of Mixmaster. Cost: $20 million to $35 million.
  • Route 9 Middletown, elevate highway and remove traffic lights. $90 million to $160 million.
  • I-684 Greenwich, bridge over Byram River. Cost: $12.9 million.
  • Route 15 Norwalk, improve connections between Route 15 and Route 7. Cost: $160 million to $200 million.
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Mark PazniokasCapitol Bureau Chief

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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13 Comments

  1. Astonishing – that in 2019 our state is intent on building an elevated freeway along the Middletown waterfront. Have we learned nothing from the decades of destruction wrought on our cities by urban highways? Just look upriver to Hartford where all of the city’s waterfront land is occupied by a concrete monstrosity. This plan is astonishingly retrograde and gross in its political expediency.

  2. Astonishing – that in 2019 our state is intent on building an elevated freeway along the Middletown waterfront. Have we learned nothing from the decades of destruction wrought on our cities by urban highways? Just look upriver to Hartford where all of the city’s waterfront land is occupied by a concrete monstrosity. This plan is astonishingly retrograde and gross in its political expediency.

      1. That track of RT9 has too many lights and turn-offs. Traveling southbound there should only be a single turn-off to Rt 17 and to Downtown Middletown. Additionally, there should only be a single turn-off from RT 9 when traveling northbound. It should probably be near the RT17 exit on the south side of downtown. Much of the congestion on RT9 is self imposed by having too many lights and turn-offs.

    1. The Middletown plan has an elevated north bound exit which crosses over the highway to a side street, and a fly over from the horrible church area to north bound, so the thru traffic can flow without lights. I sit there everyday, as do thousands, it needs to change.

      https://portal.ct.gov/DOT/Highway-Design/Route-9-Middletown

      Blocking access to the water is a nationwide problem, but in the 1950s (Eisenhower Highway System) the smooth land next to the rivers, LI Sound or whatever body of water seemed like a great place to build.

  3. The 14 gantries proposed by Governor Lamont is only a ploy to entice the legislature into voting to enact tolls in Connecticut. Once these initial 14 gantries are installed more will soon follow. The gantries will never be torn down. The construction projects outlined in this article can be funded through existing revenues generated from the gas and petroleum gross receipt taxes. All the legislature has to do is redirect them from the general fund to the transportation fund as they were originally intended.
    Once these diverted tax revenues are reinstated as they were originally intended and a deficit still exists for these projects, then an only then should the state look into tolling.

    1. This is exactly correct. There is nothing temporary about these tolls, it is just the foot in the door to add others in the future. These .50-$1 tolls are just the start as well; there won’t even be a thought to increase these by 5 cents over and over again.

      As for the only get charged once per day; mind the language. You may only have your account hit once a day; however, dollars to donuts it is an accumulation of all tolls encountered for that day. It is the standard way these systems work, not just paying your 50 cents once and free to go though all the other tolls. This is going to be another “I didn’t understand how it would work, but it’s too late now” moment, much like the grocery tax.

  4. I-91 Hartford, Charter Oak Bridge improvements.
    I thought this project was already in the works. It was a totally stupid design from the beginning when the CT-DOT replaced the previous Charter Oak. I can’t believe that no one at CT-DOT could recognize that a substantial portion Northbound I-91 would be transferring to I-84 East. Instead, they gave two lanes to CT 15 North to I-84 East and only one lane for I-91 North to I-84 East.

    Until the language that establishes the Toll Commission is revised to include a greater portion of elected reps or senators, which would REQUIRE them to vote on any changes in toll rates or toll locations, NO TO TOLLS!

  5. I’ve checked out some of these projects on the DOT website and it seems there are some substantial disparities between the DOT website and the costs delineated in this article.
    For example, the Mixmaster reinforcement in Waterbury is listed as $235MM to $260MM but the DOT website the cost is $152.9MM.
    The Gold Star Bridge is on the DOT website at $290MM but this article says it will run from $300MM to $415MM.
    The Charter Oak Bridge is on DOT website for $213MM but this article says the cost will be $300MM to $330MM.
    Moreover, most of these projects are getting up to 80% funded by federal highway grant money, so the net cost to the state is only 20% (the Middletown Route 9 project says this explicitly on the DOT website)
    Finally, the Governor links the tolls to the TIFIA financing requirement for a dedicated revenue source. But TIFIA doesn’t require it to be tolls. It can be any non-federal revenue stream pledged to secure repayment of the loan(s). The PGRT or the automobile sales tax would be better because pledging that money effectively is a real lockbox that can’t be circumvented by the Hartford politicians.

  6. The question remains, why were the original funds to the STF diverted and how do we know these funds wouldn’t be diverted as well.
    No Tolls!
    Use the money intended for highways; gas tax, car sales tax, and other revenue streams originally budgeted to be used for our roads and bridges. Oh, I forgot…it’s all swept away.
    No Tolls!
    What guarantee do we have that the gantries listed thus far won’t be added to ASAP, once this plan gets passed?
    No Tolls!
    What prevents “The Commission” from raising rates on a whim, as they won’t be held accountable by voters?
    No Tolls!

  7. BTW, I may have overlooked it, but I don’t see the Hartford Viaduct project anywhere on the CT 2030 website. Does anyone see it. The governor on the Sunday morning Face the State claimed it’s in the $21 billion plan.

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