Interstate 291 Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut map - Interstate-Guide

Routing

Interstate 291 is a connector and commuter route north of Hartford linking I-91 in the town of Windsor with I-84 at the town of Manchester. Route 218 (Wolcott Avenue) ties into the western end of the freeway from the town of Bloomfield. East from Route 159, I-291 spans the Connecticut River across the Bissell Bridge to U.S. 5 in South Windsor.

History

Interstate 291 was originally planned as a 20 mile long beltway around the north, west and south sides of the Hartford metropolitan area.1 Beyond ramps extending west from I-291 to Route 218 and the four-level interchange with I-84 at Farmington, the northwestern quadrant of I-291 was never built. The 12.5 mile segment was cancelled in July 1973.1

The southwestern quadrant remained planned until March 1979. It was projected to arc 7.6 miles southeast from I-84 through Newington, New Britain and Berlin to I-91 at Wethersfield. A short portion of this route, from Interstate 84 to Route 175 along the Newington and New Britain line, was eventually incorporated into the Route 9 freeway. The 3.3-mile segment opened to traffic on September 30, 1992 at a cost of $32.5 million.3

The Hartford beltway system also includes the Route 3 freeway extending northeast from I-91 in Wethersfield across the William Putnam Bridge over the Connecticut River to Route 2 in Glastonbury. Proposed as Interstate 491, and by 1968 as the western leg of former I-86, the section north through East Hartford to Manchester was dropped by the state of Connecticut in 1973.3

Opened December 16, 1957 as a local link from I-91 east to U.S. 5, the Captain John Bissell Bridge was the first portion of Interstate 291 completed. Tolls were charged for the span until October 9, 1985. It was signed as part of Connecticut State Route 291 until the remainder of I-291 east to Manchester was completed ib September 9, 1994.2,4

Highway Guides

Western Terminus - Interstate 91 and Route 218 - Windsor, Connecticut
Perspective from Interstate 91 south
The fifth and final exit along Interstate 91 southbound through the town of Windsor is the exchange (Exit 35) with Route 218 west and I-291 east. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Subdivisions abut both sides of Interstate 91 leading south into the diamond interchange (Exit 35B) with Route 218 (Putnam Highway). Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 291 crosses the Captain John Bissell Bridge over the Connecticut River east to U.S. 5 (John Fitch Boulevard) to the town of South Windsor. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Route 218 (Putnam Highway) stems west from Route 159 (Windsor Avenue) along Interstate 291 to I-91 and the town of Bloomfield. The seven mile long state route roughly parallels the unconstructed path of I-291 south to U.S. 44 (Albany Avenue) in the town of West Hartford. Photo taken 08/09/04.
I-91 south at the loop ramp (Exit 35A) for Interstate 291 east to Manchester. The trumpet interchange (Exit 35A) with I-291 overlays the exchange with Route 218. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Perspective from Interstate 91 north
The first guide sign for I-291 and Route 218 precedes the diamond interchange (Exit 34) with Route 159 (Windsor Avenue) in north Hartford. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Meeting I-91 again at Exit 42 in Windsor Locks, Multi State Route 159 travels 16.82 miles north from the Windsor town line at Exit 34 to the Massachusetts state border. I-91 shifts west from MSR 159 a half mile to the diamond and trumpet interchanges (Exit 35) with Interstate 291 east and Route 218 (Putnam Highway). Photo taken 08/09/04.
Forthcoming Interstate 291 provides a bypass route across the Captain John Bissell Bridge and town of South Windsor east to Manchester. Photo taken 08/09/04.
A distributor roadway separates from I-91 north to both Interstate 291 east and Route 218 (Putnam Highway). The Bissell Bridge opened in 1959 and was designated as Route 291 until 1994. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Exit 35A departs for I-291 east to I-84 and U.S. 44 at the town of Manchester. Route 218 parallels the freeway to the immediate north, concluding at Route 159 nearby. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Eastern Terminus - Interstates 84 and 384 - Manchester, Connecticut
Perspective from Interstate 291 east
Interstate 291 angles southeast below Burnham Street and concludes one mile ahead at Interstate 84. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Exit 5 ties into Tolland Turnpike and Chapel Road near Wickham Park and Buckland. The ramps for I-84 follow for Boston, Massachusetts and Hartford. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 84 westbound meets I-384 (Exit 59) just southwest of Interstate 291 and U.S. 44 (Middle Turnpike). I-384 comprises an 11-mile long spur east through Manchester to Bolton Notch. The freeway was originally part of the planned alignment taking I-84 east to Providence, Rhode Island. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 84 follows the Wilbur Cross Highway northeast from Hartford to Sturbridge, Massachusetts and I-90 (Mass Pike). Photo taken 08/09/04.
The westbound ramp to I-84 joins a collector distributor roadway ahead of the directional T interchange with Interstate 384 east through Manchester. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Perspective from Interstate 84 west
Entering the directional T interchange (Exit 61) with Interstate 291 to Windsor on westbound I-84 in Manchester. The succeeding ramp connects with a c/d roadway to Silver Lane and I-384, a 8.20 mile long spur to Bolton. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Perspective from Interstate 84 east
U.S. 6 overlaps with I-84 east from Downtown Hartford to Exit 60 with U.S. 44 (Middle Turnpike). Preceding the parclo interchange at Exit 60 and succeeding flyover for I-291 is the HOV ramp separation for Interstate 384 east. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Exit 61 for Interstate 291 west departs a half mile beyond the I-84 split with U.S. 6 east at Manchester. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Passing under U.S. 44 (Middle Turnpike), Exit 61 leaves Interstate 84 east for I-291 west to South Windsor and I-91 south of Bradley International Airport (BDL). Photo taken 08/09/04.

Sources:

  1. Connecticut I-291. Connecticut Roads (Scott Oglesby).
  2. Connecticut I-491. Connecticut Roads (Scott Oglesby).
  3. The Bissell Bridge. Connecticut Roads (Scott Oglesby).
  4. Connecticut Route 9. Connecticut Roads (Scott Oglesby).

Page updated February 15, 2019.