In 1958, I-95 through Connecticut (originally called the "Greenwich-Killingly Expressway" and later the "Connecticut Turnpike") was formally opened to traffic. Engineered for a design speed of 60 miles per hour, I-95 was constructed with six lanes from the New York State border to East Haven, and with four lanes between East Haven and Rhode Island.
The Program area of I-95 between New Haven and Branford is situated in a densely developed urban area with a mixture of commercial, industrial, municipal, and residential development. By 1989 this area of I-95 experienced traffic volumes in excess of 140,000 vehicles per day, more than three times the 40,000 vehicles per day it was designed for.
In October 1989, a study was initiated to evaluate I-95 between New Haven and Branford. A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), released in January 1992, outlined and evaluated several improvement alternatives. When citizens, businesses, commuters and public officials were presented with the set of alternatives, many voiced dissatisfaction with the selections.
CTDOT then initiated the Intermodal Concept Development Committee (ICDC), whose members represented 26 diverse community, environmental and business groups with interests in the socio-economic viability of the region. The ICDC developed alternatives that would address transportation issues while minimizing the impact of construction on the environment or property within the corridor.
The ICDC evaluated over one hundred alternates for the Corridor, and reached consensus on seven of those options, which were analyzed in detail as part of the April, 1997 Supplemental DEIS (SDEIS). The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was released in March, 1999 and was followed in August 1999 by the FHWA Record of Decision (ROD), which detailed the recommended alternative.