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Interstate 91

 

This deck truss bridge carries Interstate 91 over the Williams River near Rockingham, Vermont, as seen from the U.S. 5 bridge. Photo taken 08/04/07.

Routing

Interstate 91 provides a backbone route for western New England. Throughout Connecticut and a good portion of Massachusetts, Interstate 91 serves more populated areas and old industrial cities, including New Haven, Hartford and Springfield. North of that, it parallels the Connecticut River along the picturesque border of Vermont as it nears "La Belle Province" of Québec.

High Priority Corridor

Interstate 91 in Connecticut is part of High Priority Corridor 66: Interstate 91 Connecticut.

Parallel/Historical U.S. Routes

Interstate 93 primarily bypasses communities along U.S. 5 in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

History

Interstate 91 from the Vermont-Massachusetts State line north to Brattleboro in Vermont opened to traffic on November 1, 1958.1 This was the first Interstate highway or freeway with controlled access to open in Vermont.

In Vermont, Interstate 91 was built in stages in the late 1950s and through the 1960s. Specific opening dates for certain segments are as follows:2

  • Guilford to Vernon (5.879 miles) - November 1, 1958
  • Vernon to Brattleboro (1.942 miles) - July 31, 1959
  • Brattleboro (3.918 miles) - October 5, 1960
  • Brattleboro to Putney (11.055 miles) - December 6, 1961
  • Putney to Westminster (2.973 miles) - August 10, 1962
  • Derby (2.812 miles) - November 20, 1962
  • Derby (2.106 miles) - August 21, 1963
  • Westminster to Rockingham (9.437 miles) - November 7, 1963
  • Rockingham to Ascutney (16.319 miles) - 1965

Near St. Johnsbury (between Wells River and Glover), two alternative alignments for Interstate 91 were submitted by the state of Vermont to the federal Bureau of Public Roads. One route stayed close to U.S. 5 through McIndoe Falls, Barnet, St. Johnsbury, and Lyndonville), then shifted to Vermont 122 through Wheelock and Sheffield to Glover. The other alignment took an entirely new alignment between Wells River and Glover, offering a more direct path through Danville. The first alternative was the one ultimately built.3

Highway Guides

Southern Terminus - Interstate 95 - New Haven, Connecticut
Perspective from Interstate 91 south
Interstate 91 enters downtown New Haven from alongside U.S. 5 (State Street). A trumpet interchange joins the two highways at Exit 3. From there the freeway turns southward on the final approach to Interstate 95. Ramps for Hamilton Street (Exit 2) and Connecticut 34 (Richard C. Lee Connector) depart in advance of the 'Mixmaster Interchange' with the Connecticut Turnpike. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Carter Buchanan (06/26/05).
Traffic congestion from Interstate 95 southbound bleeds onto Interstate 91 southbound ahead of the Mixmaster Interchange. To address issues with this failing interchange, ConnDOT is reconstructing a 7.2-mile long section of Interstate 95 complete with the new Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge nearby. The reconfigured interchange will better handle movements between the two freeways when completed. See www.i95newhaven.com for details of the project. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Carter Buchanan (06/26/05).
A single-lane off-ramp carries motorists onto Interstate 95 northbound across the Quinnipiac River into East Haven. Interstate 95 travels east-west along the Connecticut coastal region between Bridgeport and New London through the New Haven vicinity. Connecticut 34 spurs west from Exit 1 into downtown New Haven. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Carter Buchanan (06/26/05).
Perspective from Interstate 95 north
A large diagrammatical-overhead lies at the Howard Avenue over pass for the upcoming junction with Connecticut 34 west (Exit 47) and Interstate 91 north (Exit 48) on Interstate 95 north. Connecticut 34 stems west into downtown New Haven from the Connecticut Turnpike while Interstate 91 provides the main route to Hamden, Wallingford, Meriden, and Hartford. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Carter Buchanan (08/09/04).
Interstate 95 northbound draws closer to the Central Business District of New Haven at the Exit 46 off-ramp onto adjacent Long Warf Road. Use Long Warf Road northbound for U.S. 1 (Water Street) south to State Street (former U.S. 5) and downtown. The northbound beginning of Interstate 91 departs from the left-hand side of Interstate 95 northbound in 0.75 miles. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Carter Buchanan (08/09/04).
Exit 47 leaves Interstate 95 northbound for the westbound beginning of Connecticut 34 (Richard C. Lee Connector). The freeway for Connecticut 34 ends prematurely ahead of York Street in downtown New Haven. Traffic merges onto a pair of frontage roads along a wide right-of-way intended for a never built westward extension of the Connector to Derby Avenue and Connecticut 122 (Forest Road) in West Haven. Connecticut 34 otherwise travels 24.37 miles miles between New Haven and Newtown. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Carter Buchanan (08/09/04).
Interstate 91 ties into the "Mixmaster" Interchange at Interstate 95 just north of Connecticut 34 (Exit 47). Exit 48 carries traffic onto Interstate 91 from the left-hand lanes of Interstate 95 north as the Connecticut Turnpike turns east to cross the Mill River en route to East Haven. Interstate 91 parallels the U.S. 5 corridor north to the capital city of Hartford, Springfield, Massachusetts, and Brattleboro, Vermont. Construction is scheduled between 2007-2012 involving a revision of the entire "Mixmaster" Interchange. At stake is the elimination of the left-hand ramps and widening of the Connecticut Turnpike to improve the traffic flow through the area. See www.i95newhaven.com for details of the project. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman & Carter Buchanan (08/09/04).
Northern Terminus - Canadian International Border - Derby Line, Vermont
Perspective from Interstate 91 north
Looking north from the Caswell Avenue over crossing at the Interstate 91 Port of Entry for the Canadian border. Quebec Autoroute 55 continues the freeway north 33 miles to Sherbrooke. Connections with Quebec Autoroute 10 lead travelers west to Montreal. Vidcap by Dave Watts (1999).
The freeway continues northward through Stanstead Plain in southern Quebec beyond the Customs Booths at the International Border. Interstate 91 and 87 directly tie into the Quebec Autoroute system. Interstate 89 becomes Provincial Route 133. Vidcap by Dave Watts (1999).

Sources:

  1. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System: Previous Interstate Facts of the Day by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
  2. Outline History of Vermont State Highways - National Highway Week, September 19-25, 1965. Prepared for informational purposes only by the Vermont Department of Highways.
  3. Vermont's 14-Year Planning Program on the Federal Aid Highway System by the Vermont Department of Highways (April 1963).

Page Updated April 16, 2008.

 
Mileage

State Connecticut
Mileage 58.00
Cities New Haven, Meriden, Hartford
Junctions Interstate 95, Interstate 691, Interstate 84, Interstate 291
State Massachusetts/td>
Mileage 54.99
Cities Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton, Greenfield
Junctions Interstate 291, Interstate 391, Interstate 90
State Vermont
Mileage 177.38
Cities Brattleboro, St. Johnsbury, Newport
Junctions Interstate 89, Interstate 93
TOTAL 290.37
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Interstate 911 Annual Average Daily Traffic

State Location AADT Composite Year
Massachusetts Springfield 102,300 1997
Massachusetts Holyoke 59,500 2002
Massachusetts Bernardston 15,600 2001
Vermont Brattleboro 25,600 2002
Vermont White River Junction 28,900 2002
Vermont St. Johnsbury 10,800 2002
Vermont Derby Line 2,500 2002
Source: Mass Highway Traffic Volume Counts (2002)
2002 (Route Log) AADTs State Highways (VTRANS)
Complete Interstate 91 AADT data.

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