DOT study supports new I-95 exit in Stratford

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The state Department of Transportation released an impact study Tuesday that dealt a blow to groups opposing a major new Interstate-95 interchange in Stratford.

The study concludes that the project will have little negative impact.

Residents of the Devon neighborhood in nearby Milford say the interchange could turn their area into a "ghost town."

They say that local traffic will remain on the interstate, potentially hurting the 65 businesses in the area.

The plan would install a new exit leading to I-95 southbound at Ferry Boulevard in Stratford.

"It's going to take stress away from Exit 32," says Stratford Mayor John Harkins. "It's going to help the West Broad Street area."

The DOT says that the project will not hurt the businesses along Route 1 in Devon as it diverts traffic from the area. About 60 percent of those businesses are "by appointment," according to the study, and most of the rest cater to local customers, not I-95 motorists.

But former state House Speaker Jim Amann criticizes the DOT both for this plan and other plans that he says have failed in the past.

"They've been wrong a million times, and they're wrong again," Amann says. "I don't trust the Department of Transportation to tell what the economics are in our community."

On the other hand, state Rep. Kim Rose says she found that an overwhelming majority of Stratford voters supported the idea.

Phil Young, the chef at Bridge House Restaurant, says less traffic might actually help business.

"Often times, we have 10,000, 15,000 cars going by a day," Young says. "And honestly, we'll have two people in the restaurant."

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