Gov. Malloy pushes for Heroes Tunnel overhaul

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NEW HAVEN -

Gov. Dannel Malloy on Wednesday pushed transportation investments as key to growing the state while highlighting needed improvements to the much-traveled Heroes Tunnel on the Wilbur Cross Parkway.

Heroes Tunnel opened in 1949, carrying traffic on the Wilbur Cross Parkway through New Haven. The state has not renovated the tunnel since it was originally constructed, leaving it to the standards that existed 70 years ago.

Malloy says an estimated 71,000 vehicles use the tunnel every day, and that volume is just part of the reason state leaders want it overhauled. He cited falling concrete and ice, plus poor lighting and mechanical issues as other reasons.

State leaders joined the governor to lament the tunnel's condition and use it as an example for what the state needs to do -- invest in transportation.

Legislators also took the opportunity to start campaigning for Connecticut voters to approve a transportation lockbox. The amendment, which is on the ballot next year, would ensure that money set aside for roads, rails and bridges cannot be used for anything else.

The governor says projects like Heroes Tunnel are exactly what a lockbox is for.

As for where upgrades stand right now, Malloy says the Department of Transportation is still in the design phase, but the current preferred option is to build a third tunnel to allow construction to happen without disrupting traffic.

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