Tag Archives: I-95 Exit 18

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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Photo Challenge #273

There are a lot more sheer rock faces in Westport than I thought.

“06880” readers took a break from hand washing, social distancing and toilet paper hoarding last Sunday to guess where the latest Photo Challenge might be.

Michael Tomashefsky’s rock wall (click here here to see) was — according to numerous wrong guessers — either off I-95 Exit 17; behind the Sherwood Diner; behind the Gault barn on South Compo; in the parking lot behind Trader Joe’s; at Erickson’s Pond (where is that?), or near the bridge by the Levitt Pavilion (huh?!).

It is, in fact, near 95 — but Exit 18. The exact location is behind the commuter parking lot on the Sherwood Island Connector, diagonally across from the transfer station.

There’s plenty of rock there. As well as history. In the early 1700s, that area was the site of the very first Greens Farms Congregational Church meetinghouse.

Congratulations to Brian Taylor, Andrew Colabella, Wendy Cusick, Jerry Kuyper and René Fontaine.

Special props to Fran Taylor, who nailed it despite having lived in Kentucky for the past few decades. Then again, she grew up right around the corner from the Photo Challenge wall.

I guess it’s her rock of ages.

Before responding to this week’s Photo Challenge, please read carefully:

We’re not looking for where these figures are today (behind a home on Hitchcock Road).

We want to know where would you have seen them from 2001 to 2008?

If you know, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Howard Silver)

Everyone Talks About Traffic: The Sequel

Earlier this month, an alert, frustrated and very gridlocked “06880” reader wrote an opinion piece about traffic.

He noted some of the worst jams in Westport, and recommended the creation of a special town traffic czar an task force to examine the issue. Dozens of readers replied. Their comments ranged from “it’s even worse than you say” to “get over it.”

This week, the reader — who asked to be identified as “GS” — is back.

This time, he has one specific solution.

It’s a spot seldom mentioned when we discuss traffic woes. But it’s bad.

I-95 Exit 18 northbound getx jammed at rush hour. Cars creep up the hill; the backlog often spills all the way down the ramp, causing delays on the highway itself.

GS’ idea: Put a stoplight at the top of the exit, at the Sherwood Island Connector.

Exit 18, at the Sherwood Island Connector.

“Keep it green 85% of the time, for drivers coming off the exit,” he says. After all, virtually no one ever waits at what is now a stop sign, heading east to Sherwood Island State Park. (Even in summer, most traffic to the park comes off 95 northbound.)

Making Exit 18 more attractive would cause more drivers to get off there — easing the current congestion at Exit 17, and into Saugatuck, GS says. Waze and other traffic apps would notice, keeping drivers on 95 to Exit 18, instead of telling them to get off at 17 because of I-95 congestion ahead.

“It’s not a lot,” he admits. “But every little bit helps.”

It’s an interesting idea. So here is today’s “06880” challenge:

Come up with your own.

What little tweaks can you suggest, to ease traffic in Westport?

Where would you put a light, a stop sign, a turning lane? Where would you remove something that actually hinders the flow?

Be creative! Think outside the box! The sky’s the limit!

And if you think this is, um, pie in the sky: Think again.

These ideas will go right to our new task force and traffic czar.

Once they’re appointed, of course.