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Congressman John Larson

Representing the 1st District of Connecticut

ICYMI: Larson Hosts Educational Forum on the Seattle Tunnel Experience

September 18, 2018
Press Release
How to Move Greater Hartford’s Infrastructure Forward

Hartford, CT – Yesterday, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) hosted a delegation from Seattle, WA for an Educational Forum about their recent experience in replacing an aging highway viaduct with a tunnel and the lessons that we can learn as Greater Hartford seeks to reconstruct our highway system and transform our region for the future. The forum was streamed on Facebook Live and can be viewed here.

“Just like Hartford, Seattle had an aging viaduct, a highway system that divided the city, it was walled off from its waterfront, and had a flood protection system in need of repair. Seattle seized the moment by putting their highway underground in a tunnel, transforming the city, opening up new park space, and spurring new economic development. This forum with leaders from the Seattle tunnel project was an opportunity for our region to learn from their success story. Currently, the I-84 and I-91 interchange is ranked as the 24th worst bottleneck in the country and the 2nd in New England. Our highways are in a state of disrepair, the North End of Hartford is cut off from the rest of the city, we’re blocked from the riverfront, and, most urgently, our levees are in danger of collapsing. We have a choice to make. We can either accept a 50-year-old mistake or think big and pursue a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore and revitalize Greater Hartford around the Connecticut River,” said Larson.

“After a decade of debate and planning, a new, 2-mile-long tunnel will soon open in Seattle, replacing a noisy elevated expressway, the Alaskan Way Viaduct, that has walled downtown off from our beautiful waterfront for more than 60 years. A 20-acre park will be built over the tunnel, reconnecting the waterfront and downtown. This ‘once in a century opportunity’ will transform Seattle for generations. We think Hartford may have a similar opportunity along its riverfront, that’s why we shared our experience in Hartford,” said Bob Donegan, Tim Burgess & Candace Damon.

The Seattle Panel was made up of Bob Donegan, (local business owner/President of Ivar’s restaurants), David Sowers (WSDOT’s Deputy Program Administrator for Engineering and Program Management), Paula Hammond (Former Secretary WSDOT), Tim Burgess (Former Seattle Mayor/City Councilor), and Candace Damon (Vice Chairman of HR&A Advisors).

The Hartford Panel was made up of Chuck Sheehan (former CEO of the MDC), Carl Bard (former Deputy Commissioner of ConnDOT), David Fay (President/CEO of the Bushnell), Scott Jellison (CEO & COO of the MDC), Don Shubert (President of Connecticut Construction Industry Association), David Griggs (President & CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance) and Commissioner James Redeker of CTDOT).

More on the I-84/I-91 tunnel proposal can be found here.