CTDOT Offers Text Alerts For Planned I-95 Closures, Blasting at Exit 74

A view from the construction at Exit 74 in East Lyme (Courtesy of CTDOT)


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EAST LYME – Drivers will have little notice before Interstate 95 closes fully in both directions in 15 minute intervals, twice a day, four days a week starting next Tuesday.

On Aug. 1, crews will begin blasting ledge along I-95 at Exit 74 in East Lyme to make room for another northbound travel lane as part of the $148 million rebuild at Route 161.

The interstate will be closed in both directions for 15 minutes twice a day between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, Connecticut Department of Transportation announced. The closures will continue for 6-8 weeks.

Blasting will be suspended on Fridays to avoid typically heavy beach traffic northbound on I-95.

DOT spokesman Josh Morgan said it’s not possible to give a narrower range of time for the blasting because the timing of each round of blasting depends on moment-to-moment conditions. 

Drivers who want some notice can sign up for text alerts on the project website, which Morgan said will send out an alert about 30 minutes before blasting begins and the interstate is shut down.

During the blasting, rolling roadblocks will block off both travel lanes in each direction, and drivers will be directed to the detours by signs and an East Lyme Police detail. 

Northbound drivers will take Exit 74, continue on Route 161 north which turns into Route 1, turn left onto Cross Road, left onto Waterford Parkway, and enter back on to I-95 northbound at Exit 75.

Southbound drivers will take Exit 75, follow Route 1 to Route 161 south, where they can enter back on to I-95 southbound.

Morgan said the blasting and lane closures have always been a part of the project plans. There was previous consideration scheduling one blasting operation a day, Monday through Friday, for 12 to 16 weeks, he said.

“We were able to work with the blasting company to do two operations Monday through Thursday, because the vehicle counts on Friday are so much higher,” Morgan said. “And that means we’re able to get the work done in 6 to 8 weeks instead of four months.”

Morgan said they would usually plan lane closures for overnight hours, but state law requires blasting to be scheduled during daylight hours.

“It’s not putting a stick of dynamite into a mountainside, this is coordinated drilling to remove just enough of the rock ledge for this extra travel lane, but you never know what’s going to happen,” Morgan said. “If something fell into the roadway or something washed away, this has to be done during the daytime so that it could be visible and cleaned up quickly.”

The project will flatten the grade along I-95, replace the I-95 bridge over Route 161, create new on- and off-ramps at Exit 74, and add additional lanes between exits 74 and 75. Construction began in April, and is expected to be completed in Spring 2027. The Department of Transportation awarded the $148 million project to Manafort Brothers as the lead contractor.

To receive text alerts that will give about 30 minutes of warning before the highway is closed, people can sign up on the project website.