River Road: Barriers become gateways to the river, increasing from two to thirteen.
The planned relocation of the 84-91 interchange in Hartford, CT, unlocks the potential restoration of the river as the city’s historic center. After the progressive isolation of the river with railroad, floodwalls, and highways, River Road, one of the transformative projects of Hartford 400, reconnects Hartford to its riverfront along its entire length. City streets rise to the top of the floodwall and River Road, which sits atop I-91 and the railroad tracks. River Road is lined with new riverfront development, which faces an extended Riverside Park sloping down to the water’s edge.
Repeated flooding in the 1930s led to construction of a flood wall towering 47′ above river height, offering protection but also cutting off the city from the river. This was exacerbated in the 1960s with the construction of Interstate 91 along the riverfront and the later conversion of Bulkeley Bridge into Interstate 84.
Removing the interchange could free up as much as 28 acres of publicly-owned land for parkland and mixed-use development.
Creating an elevated River Road would allow an extraordinary expansion of riverfront access, from today’s limited two-point access to 13 points from virtually every street and neighborhood along the river. A combination of ramped roadways, escalators, stairs, and elevators would rise to +47′, creating a sloped and seamless flow from the city to River Road and the elevated riverfront park.