From Exit 3 to Exit 7 in Danbury, Route 7 shares 4 miles of highway with Interstate 84. Opened in 1961, Exits 3 and 7 soon
beame two of the state's worst bottlenecks. In the late 1980s, I-84/US-7 was widened from 4 to 6 lanes in Danbury, which helped
relieve some of the congestion. However, in the last decade, strong economic growth combined with rapid increase in population
has once again put a tremendous amount of strain on Danbury's only major highway. In une 2000 the Connecticut DOT announced
a 10-year $300 million plan to rebuild I-84 from the New York state line to the Housatonic River in Newtown.
in this plan is overhauling and widening the Danbury section of I-84 which carries Route 7, as well as Routes 6 and 202.
According to the DOT's plan, Exit 3, which connects I-84 with Route 7 south (Norwalk-Danbury section) will be reconfigured
to reduce the bottlenecking. Today the Route 7 ramps to and from I-84 west are left exits on I-84. Because of the close proximity
of the Exit 4 ramps (Route 6/202 west), motorists will cut across 3 lanes of traffic to get from Exit 3 to Exit 4, or vise
versa. The current DOT lan is to move the westbound Exit 3 onramp over I-84 and enter the highway on the right. However, the
westbound Exit 3 offramp will still be a left exit.
Unless the Exit 3 offramp is moved over to the right, bottlenecking
will still occur because motorists will still have to cut across three lanes of traffic in a vey short distance to access
Route 7 south from I-84 west.
A similar scenario is played out at Exits 7 and 8 from I-84 eastbound to Route 7
north (to Brookfield/New Milford). Currently the Exit 7 ramps to and from I-84 eastbound leave and enter I-84 from the left.
Less than a quarter of a mile east are the ramps to Exit 8, which are on the right. Motorists once again must quickly cut
across three lanes of traffic to get from Exit 7 to Exit 8. The current DOT plan calls for moving the eastbound Exit 7 entrance
to the right, but keeps the Route 7 north rmps as a left exit. Therefore, this places slower drivers in the left lane, an
does not resolve the bottlenecking there. The Route 7 north ramp should be moved to the right side of I-84 east to resolve
Plans also include revamping Exits 5 and 6, to make Exit 6 a full interchange. Currently Exit 6 allows
access to and from points east only. The revises Exit 6 will allow access to Route 37 (North Street) from both east and west.
Exit 5 will be moved from their current intersection with Main Street and Golden Hill Road to Starr Avenue, with another ramp
allowing direct access to Main Street south (going toward Downtown Danbury). On the eastbound side of I-84/US-7, the Exit
5 ramp will be moved from its current locaion at Downs Street, and will be combined on a Collector-Distributor roadway with
the new eastbound Exit 6 ramp. The Exit 5 ramp will leave the C/D road and intersect Main Street near North Street, and the
Exit 6 ramp will be located at North Street across from the existing eastbound Exit 6 onramp.
These additions and
modifications are extremely important for Danbury's transportation network. They will reduce gridlock in Danbury and congestion
on I-84/US-7 around the city. Also, making Exit 6 a full interchange will relieve traffic strains on Exit 5. Finally, moving
the Exit 3 and Exit 7 ramps to the right will eliminate bottlenecking due to slower drivers having to move into the left lane
to access those exits, as well as eliminate weaving conditions between Exits 3 and 4 and Exits 7 and 8.