Route 11 benefits worth investment

Frustration concerning the over-studied, much-discussed, but never built Route 11 completion project is understandable. Even as the two latest studies on highway design and financing continue, it is tempting for the region to collectively throw up its hands and give up. That would be a mistake.

More than his predecessors, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy recognizes the economic advantages of extending the highway from its terminus in Salem and connecting it with interstates 95 and 395 in Waterford, the original plan before the project stalled in 1972. In addition to the construction jobs, the convenient new highway would economically link this region with the Hartford/Springfield market.

It would also vastly improve the ability to evacuate coastal communities in an emergency.

Critics say it is not worth displacing homes and businesses. But according to the July 2007 Environmental Impact Statement, few parcels - 18 residential and five commercial properties - are affected because the project runs through undeveloped land.

Some decry the high projected cost, upwards of $900 million, but ignore the benefits, including improving the I-95/395 interchange, which will need a redesign in any event, and taking traffic off overburdened routes 85 and 82. If there is no Route 11 completion, those roads will need costly upgrades.

Others doubt whether drivers will pay the toll fee proposed to help pay for the project, perhaps $2, but given the price of gasoline we suspect many will pay to save time, reduce aggravation and burn less fuel.

We continue to support this project because it makes sense. Don't give up.

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.

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