The Hartford metropolitan area, capital city of Connecticut. Featured here is the northeast quadrant of the partially completed Interstate 291 beltway. The northwestern quadrant is unconstructed and cancelled. The southwest quadrant largely exists as Connecticut 9. The southeast segment, planned as Interstate 491, only exists as the Connecticut 3 freeway between Interstate 91 and Connecticut 2 between Wethersfield and Glastonbury. Connecticut 3 also composed part of the defunct Interstate 86. Interstate 86 also utilized Interstate 84 from Manchester at current Interstate 384 northeast to the Mass Pike near Sturbridge. Additionally a black/white Interstate 484 shield on the map refers to the cancelled link between Interstate 84 to 91 at downtown Hartford. The routing would have gone through Bushnell Park, and thus was controversal and ultimately killed.
Interstate 291 is a connector between Interstates 91 and 84 north of Hartford. The freeway turns into Connecticut 218/Wolcott Avenue west of Interstate 91. Interstate 291 crosses the Bissell Bridge on its way east from Interstate 91 to Interstate 84.
Originally, Interstate 291 was planned to be part of a larger beltway around the Hartford metro area. Most of the beltway was never completed, and in fact, the section of Interstate 291 that has been completed was built rather recently as it opened in the early 1990s. The Bissell Bridge was one of the first components of the beltway constructed; it opened in the late 1950s. However, the connection from the Bissell Bridge and Interstate 84 was not completed until some 40 years later, in September 1994. For much of the time while the bridge did not connect to Interstate 84, the route was designated as Connecticut 291. The north-south connection from Interstate 84 south to Interstate 91 was never constructed, with the exception of the Connecticut 3/William Putnam Bridge.
Western Terminus - Interstate 91 - Windsor, Connecticut
Perspective from Interstate 91 south
The last Windsor interchange joins Interstate 91 with Connecticut 218 (Putnam Highway) and Interstate 291 at Exits 35B/A. Connecticut 218 stems west from Connecticut 159 (Windsor Avenue) along Interstate 291 to Interstate 91 and Blue Hills and south Bloomfield. Interstate 291 represents the northeast bypass route of Hartford between Interstates 91 and 84-384. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Traveling to within one half mile of Exits 35B/A with Interstate 291 east and Connecticut 218 (Putnam Highway). Connecticut 218 consists of 7.00 miles of pavement between Windsor and U.S. 44 (Albany Avenue) in West Hartford. The alignment roughly parallels the unconstructed path of Interstate 291. Interstate 291 was a planned 270-degree beltway around Hartford between Interstate 84 at Manchester and Interstate 91 at Rocky Hill. The freeway was never built west of Interstate 91. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Exit 35A serves the eastbound beginning of Interstate 291. Interstate 291 crosses the Captain John Bissell Bridge over the Connecticut River between Windsor and South Windsor. The freeway interchanges U.S. 5 (John Fitch Boulevard) and Tolland Turnpike before meeting Interstate 84 at its junction with Interstate 384. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 91 southbound at the Exit 35B ramp departure for Connecticut 218 (Putnam Highway). Connecticut 218 intersects Connecticut 187 (Blue Hills Avenue) 1.5 miles west in the Town of Bloomfield. The state highway parallels Interstate 291 east to Connecticut 159 (Windsor Avenue) adjacent to the half-diamond interchange with Deerfield Road. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Exit 35A loops onto Interstate 291 eastbound for the Bissell Bridge and Town of Manchester. Interstate 291 travels 6.02 miles between Interstate 91 & Connecticut 218 east to Interstate 84 at Buckland. Use Interstate 291 east to Interstate 384 east for the Manchester Town Center. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Perspective from Interstate 91 north
One half mile south of the Exit 34 diamond interchange with the southern terminus of Connecticut 159 (Main Street / Windsor Avenue). Posted here is the first guide sign for the eastbound beginning of Interstate 291 (Exit 35A) across the Captain John Bissell Bridge. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Drivers to Connecticut 159 (Windsor Avenue) northbound depart Interstate 91 at Exit 34. Connecticut 159 travels 16.82 miles north from Windsor to Massachusetts 159 at the state line. The state highway meets Interstate 91 again at Exit 42 in Windsor Locks. Meanwhile Interstate 91 prepares to enter its interchange with Interstate 291 and Connecticut 218 (Putnam Highway) in Windsor. The HOV-2 lane features its own off-ramp onto the Putnam Highway. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 291, what was built of it, provides a bypass route between Windsor, South Windsor, and Manchester to the northeast of Hartford. The freeway utilizes the Captain John Bissell Bridge to cross the Connecticut River between Connecticut 159 (Windsor Avenue) and U.S. 5 (John Fitch Boulevard). Interstate 291 otherwise ties into Interstate 84 adjacent to its interchange with Interstate 384, a freeway spur into Manchester. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Traveling the Exit 35A/B off-ramp northward to the eastbound beginning of Interstate 291. Interstate 291 was a planned three-quarter beltway around the city of Hartford between Rocky Hill, West Hartford, and Windsor. For the most part the freeway was abandoned with the exception of the Connecticut 9 freeway between Interstate 84 and New Britain. Cancellation of Interstate 291 west of Interstate 91 occurred by March of 1979. The Bissell Bridge opened in 1959 and carried the designation of Connecticut 291 until 1994. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Exit 35A leaves Interstate 91 northbound for Interstate 291 east to South Windsor and Interstates 84 & 384 at Manchester. Traffic continuing north to Exit 35B meets Connecticut 218 (Putnam Highway) ahead. Connecticut 218 arcs 7.00 miles west and south from Connecticut 159 (Windsor Avenue) to U.S. 44 (Albany Avenue) at West Hartford. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 291 ends its final mile near the Burnham Street over crossing. The freeway ends at Interstate 84 two exits north of Interstate 384. Tolland Turnpike meanwhile ties into Interstate 291 in one half mile near Wickham Park and Buckland. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Drivers bound for Tolland Turnpike depart Interstate 291 east at the Batson Drive overpass. The southbound on-ramp meets Tolland Turnpike just west of the intersection with Chapel Road. Chapel Road stems north from Tolland Turnpike along Interstate 291 west to Burnham Street, Long Hill Road, and Connecticut 30 (Ellington Road). The westbound on-ramp from Tolland Turnpike departs from Chapel Road. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 291 eastbound partitions into ramps for Interstate 84 just south of the Tolland Turnpike under crossing. Interstate 84 westbound meets Interstate 384 (Exit 59) just southwest of Interstate 291. Interstate 384 comprises an 11-mile freeway through Manchester to Bolton Notch. The freeway spur was originally intended to carry Interstate 84 east on its planned route between Hartford and Providence, Rhode Island. Photo taken 08/09/04.
A set of reflectorized overheads lies ahead of the Interstate 291 ramp split for Interstate 84 east and west. Interstate 84 follows the Wilbur Cross Highway northeast from Hartford to Sturbridge, Massachusetts. From the end at Interstate 90, travelers can continue east along the Massachusetts Turnpike to the city of Boston. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 84 & 384 shield assembly posted at the Interstate 291 eastern terminus. A tri-level stack interchange joins the two freeways to the west of downtown Manchester. Drivers using the westbound ramp can also access Spencer Street in addition to Interstate 384 east. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Continuing along the westbound Interstate 84 off-ramp from Interstate 291 east at the split with the ramp to Interstate 384 east. Traffic from U.S. 44 (Middle Turnpike) merges onto the westbound ramp before traffic joins the Interstate 84 mainline. Interstate 84 west reaches downtown East Hartford in 4.4 miles and downtown Hartford in 5.4 miles. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Perspective from Interstate 84 west
A collector distributor roadway system facilitates the movements between Interstate 84 (Wilbur Cross Highway) west and Interstates 291 (Exit 61) west and 384 (Exit 59) east. Interstate 384 constitutes an 8.20-mile spur from Interstate 84 east through Manchester to Bolton. Interstate 291 travels west to Interstate 91 north for Bradley International Airport and Springfield, Massachusetts. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Perspective from Interstate 84 east
Interstate 84 eastbound near the exits for U.S. 6 & 44 (Exit 60) and Interstate 291 west (Exit 61). The carpool lane partitions into ramps for Interstate 84 & 384 east as the Interstate 84 & U.S. 6 mainline passes over the Interstate 384 ramps onto westbound. Ahead is the Exit 60 partial-cloverleaf interchange with U.S. 44 (Burnside Avenue) and the departure of U.S. 6 east onto U.S. 44 east (Middle Turnpike). The eastern terminus of Interstate 291 (Exit 61) lies 1.50 miles ahead. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Exit 60 carries U.S. 6 eastbound away from Interstate 84 at U.S. 44 (Middle Turnpike West). Interstate 84 continues northeast to meet Interstate 291 (Exit 61) in one half mile. A left-lane restriction for commercial trucks remains in effect for the freeway. Photo taken 08/09/04.
U.S. 44 (Middle Turnpike West) crosses over Interstate 84 at the Exit 61 ramp departure for Interstate 291 east. Interstate 291 constitutes a northeasterly bypass of Hartford for traffic between Interstates 84 and 91. The freeway crosses the Captain John Bissell Bridge between South Windsor and Windsor before ending at Interstate 91 and Connecticut 218 (Putnam Highway). Interstate 291 originally was to continue west from Windsor to Farmington and south to Rocky Hill as a western beltway of the Hartford metropolitan area. Photo taken 08/09/04.