Route 34 Westbound Exit 2 Scheduled to Close July 15
(7/13/2014) New Haven’s downtown redevelopment reaches an important milestone tonight with the closing of Route 34 westbound Exit 2. Martin Luther King (MLK)Boulevard has been widened to three travel lanes between Church Street and College Street to accommodate traffic flow. Earlier in the project, Route 34 Exit 3 was closed to enable construction of 100 College Street, the new 495,000 square foot headquarters building for Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
The project - funded by the United States Department of Transportation, the City of New Haven and the State of Connecticut - includes substantial changes to segments of MLK Boulevard (North Frontage Road), College Street, South Frontage Road, Church Street and George Street and the Air Rights Garage.
“We are extremely grateful to Governor Malloy and federal transportation officials for their belief in New Haven’s future, and to city residents for their patience as we make this ‘game changing’ construction project a reality,” said New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp. “The transformation of this area is of statewide and regional significance, opening the door for billions of dollars of private investment and thousands of new jobs.”
During the construction period, there will be extensive road work in the area. To assist motorists, the City also has conducted an outreach campaign in partnership with CT Rides and many area employers.
“With the closing of Route 34 Exit 2, it is even more important for commuters and residents to discover transit options, bike and pedestrian solutions and alternate routes around the City,” said Doug Hausladen, City Transportation Director, “The changes to Route 34 are possible in part because the City features and continues to build up its network of complete streets for all road users.”
This “Phase One” also includes the first bicycle infrastructure in the district with dedicated bike lanes and bike boxes. Pedestrian crosswalks are being upgraded and new traffic signals will be equipped with state-of-the-art controls to improve traffic flow on local streets.
One of the more important aspects of the outreach efforts is the alternative routes program. Information on alternate routes together with videos showing the actual routes are available at the project website http://downtowncrossingnewhaven.com.The City continues to urge motorists to drive safely and share the road with the many pedestrians and cyclists who travel in the area every day. You can sign up and stay informed about project, lane closures etc. and other construction-related activities at the project website, http://downtowncrossingnewhaven.com/contact_us.html
With this first construction project, the City is beginning to reconnect the Hill neighborhood with both the downtown and the medical school and hospital area, by closing the Route 34 expressway to allow new retail, commercial and housing and other amenities to develop again.
From an economic development perspective, Phase One work will provide infrastructure improvements necessary to proceed immediately on the first new parcel within the corridor, the new 100 College Street building, while positioning the balance of the corridor for future development. Phase Two consists of the Orange Street crossing and the development of the former Coliseum site with a 1.1 million square feet mixed use development by Live Work Learn Play of Montreal.
Alexion’s 100 College Street building will be a new medical and lab office structure situated on the parcel of land between College Street and the Air Rights Garage. Alexion is a biopharmaceutical company focused on serving patients with severe and life-threatening ultra-rare disorders.
The company originated in New Haven and is currently based in Cheshire, Connecticut. Their relocation to New Haven with some 900 permanent jobs, is the largest single move of a bioscience company in the city’s history.
Matthew Nemerson, New Haven Economic Development Administrator said, “Alexion’s decision is directly related to a combination of research and patient care at the Yale School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Hospital and the unique growing reputation of New Haven as one of the most attractive small cities in the country for the life science and other knowledge based industries.”
The building is scheduled to open in mid-2015. Construction activities are creating up to 2,000 construction jobs.
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