Thursday, June 25, 2009


Route 2 bypass eases access to Foxwoods
Mashantuckets dedicate $67 million highway project
Norwich Bulletin
Posted Jun 23, 2009 @ 11:23 PM

Ledyard, Conn. — There was some disagreement on its history and geography, but all concurred that it will be a major spur to business in Eastern Connecticut.

Leaders of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, who own Foxwoods Resort Casino, joined with state and local officials Tuesday to celebrate completion of a $67 million road project aimed at decreasing traffic congestion and improving business.

“We are happy to be here for many, many reasons,” Tribal Chairman Michael Thomas said. “This is an example of people coming together to create things that benefit us all.”

The new 64-foot-wide section of road contains two lanes for traffic in each direction, enabling motorists to bypass the casino when traveling to Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly.

Help to businesses

Several speakers at a morning ribbon-cutting ceremony predicted the Route 2 bypass will be a major help to Foxwoods, MGM Grand at Foxwoods and other local businesses. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Uncasville have seen gaming revenues slump as the recession prompts consumers to curb discretionary spending.

“This is a shot in the arm for economic development in southeastern Connecticut,” said Michael Lonergan, bureau chief of highway operations at the state Department of Transportation, which oversaw construction.

The project, financed entirely by the tribe, was estimated to have taken anywhere from five to 15 years by different speakers at the overpass ceremony. One said the land was in Ledyard, while another said North Stonington. The new section of road runs through both towns. Others in attendance said it was more important to consider the impacts on commerce, safety and traffic.

Safer driving

“Any transportation improvements benefit all our communities,” Norwich City Manager Alan Bergren said. The likelihood of fewer traffic accidents pleased Bergren, noting that many Foxwoods employees live in Norwich.

A Route 2A project near Mohegan Sun, slated for completion at the end of July, will be another blow against traffic tie-ups, Montville Mayor Joseph Jaskiewicz said. The projects are finishing at a convenient time, Lonergan noted.

“This is the time of year when you have the beach traffic and the casino traffic,” he said. “It’s doubly important to keep people moving.”

Smoother travel will help regional tourism, said state Rep. Tom Reynolds, D-Ledyard.

A top executive at the lead contractor on the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun projects praised the gambling spirit of the Mashantuckets.

“This project is a quite a risk-taking,” said Stephen A. Cardi Sr., secretary and treasurer of Warwick-R.I.-based Cardi Corp. “I am truly proud to be part of this massive economic development project.”

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: I have taken a ride on the new section of Route 2 in front of the Foxwoods Resort Casino, it is really nice. It really should help traffic flow. The two lanes leading on to Route 2-A that the Mohegan Tribe built is really nice, too. What do you think?

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