New Exit Numbers May Drive Us Crazy

Since the 1950s — through name changes (Connecticut Turnpike  to Thruway to I-95), changes in speed limits and the removal of tolls — 2 things remained constant: Exit 17 was in Saugatuck, Exit 18 in Greens Farms.

For even longer — as Merritt Parkway signs changed from wood to metal, and actual arrows were replaced by symbolic ones — Westporters have known  2 truths: Exit 41 was near Wilton, Exit 42 by Weston.

As we’ve seen in many other areas of life, things are not always what they seem. There can be more than one “truth.”

Federal regulations mandate changes, for uniformity and emergency response reasons. With exits marked by miles from a standardized point — in these cases, Mile 0.0 at the New York state border — rather than simple numerical order,* I-95 exit 17 could  become Exit 18. The current Exit 18 would be Exit 20.

Exit 27 will now be Exit 1.

More drastically, Merritt Parkway Exit 41 would be renumbered Exit 21. Exit 42 would turn into Exit 22.

The dramatic — and so far, unreported — information comes from Neil Brickley. The 1971 Staples High School graduate is a civil engineer. His Wethersfield firm, Close, Jensen & Miller, works closely with the state Department of Transportation.

The mileage calculations are Brickley’s. They’re not yet official.

He notes that similar renumbering on limited access highways has already taken place in both eastern Connecticut, and the Middletown area.

The new Exit 18.

However, there’s good news for traditionalists. The Merritt Parkway project will not begin until 2025. I-95 will not be renumbered until 2029.

And once they’re done, signs with both the new and old numbers will remain for at least 2 years.

(Want to knw more? Click here, for a state DOT Frequently Asked Questions page.)

*There is no Merritt Parkway Exit 43 in Fairfield/ Legend has it that Greenfield Hill residents objected to on- and off-ramps in their neighborhood. When plans were scrapped, numbers had a already been assigned. Exit 43 was simply eliminated.

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14 responses to “New Exit Numbers May Drive Us Crazy

  1. They did that on cape cod! I am still confused by the change.

  2. Somehow, since 1958, we survived with our Exits 17 and 18. I guess we can chalk this up to uniformity and progress.

  3. It’s a total waste of money that could be used to make roads safer, not more confusing. For emergency and other so-called reasons for the change, we have GPS for guidance. Wonder how much this blunder cost us???

  4. Robert Mitchell

    There is no Merritt Parkway Exit 45 either. In both cases, there is no logical highway to receive the off-Parkway traffic. But why they skipped the numbers???

  5. Another waste of funds.

  6. FYI- interesting fact; the reason there is no exit 43 where Westport meets Fairfield town line). The 2 women who owned the land either side where it was to be built prevented it by circulating a petition. These two women of means (one had started Pepperidge farm Co. owned the Fairfield side & the other who had a country estate on the Westport side) They didn’t want their peace & quiet disturbed by a road originally slated to give beach access to Sherwood state park, which is why we ended up with the Sherwood Island connector ending at Post rd. Even though emanant domain was already the law of the land these women were influential and connected enough to prevent the exit from being built. If I got any of this story wrong I’d be happy to be corrected.

    • Michael Calise

      Suspect the Parkway (15) and Turnpike (95) connections are incorrect. They were constructed decades apart. It is amazing however the things bureaucrats busy themselves with while “Rome burns”

  7. Maggie Rudkin was the founder/owner of Pepperidge Farm. She later moved to the Post Rd. on the Norwalk side of the Westport border where she had her house with the factory in the back yard and a store on the side selling day-old bread–which was made without preservatives and thus got stale quickly. My mother bought our bread there, which I guess explains why I don’t care for bread to this day. Campbell Soup subsequently bought the company.

  8. Ellen Dale Naftalin

    I think instead of spending millions to change all these signs they should take the money and put in large neon signs at the top of every exit ramp saying “You are going the WRONG WAY.” I just read there have been 20 wrong-way head on crashes in CT in 2022.

  9. No extra funds are being spent on this.
    This is far from a new unreported project.
    It’s just getting new attention because it is reaching the point where it will be widely implemented.
    This is a long term project.
    The renumbering started in 2013 with I-395.
    The signs are changed out with the new numbering system when the decades old signs were already scheduled to be replaced.
    The DOT could have started immediately and spent extra funds by not waited until the scheduled maintenance.

  10. Patrick Goldschmidt

    New York State has already renumbered the Hutchinson Parkway exits.

  11. I always thought that “Exit 43” would have been where a proposed connector from the Sherwood exit would have landed. Didn’t Westporters fight off something like that, back in the day?

  12. All this strikes me as wasteful, unnecessary, confusing and insufferable. However, I suppose there are more significant issues to get outraged about nowadays, and once it’s done, we’ll get used to it. Bureaucracies meddle – that’s what they do. Let’s keep our powder dry and more on.

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