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    Sunday, March 03, 2024

    Coming winter spurs traffic woes in East Lyme

    East Lyme ― A last-minute paving project on Route 161 spurred by the encroaching winter caused two days of major traffic delays and on Friday closed exit 74 from morning until evening.

    The state Department of Transportation is about eight months into a four-and-a-half-year, $148 million project to reduce congestion and improve safety on Interstate 95 and Route 161.

    State DOT spokesman Josh Morgan said that Friday was the final day of the season for the asphalt plants supplying the agency. He said it was necessary, although not ideal, to pave during the daytime because temperatures dip too low at night for a successful asphalt project.

    Morgan also said the decision to pave now was made when concerns arose that a rough winter might force a major repair project on a road that was already compromised over the years by wear and utility work.

    The exit 74 on-ramp reopened at 11:37 a.m., according to East Lyme police. He said the off-ramp was expected to open by 5 p.m.

    Crashes exacerbated the traffic situation on Friday, according to Morgan. He said a vehicle around 2 p.m. hit sand barrels on Interstate 95 northbound and left debris in the road.

    East Lyme police said a head-on crash involving two vehicles occurred around 1:49 p.m. on Route 1 between Flanders Four Corners and the exit 75 southbound on-ramp. At least one person was transported to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London with minor injuries.

    e.regan@theday.com

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