Wilbur Cross Parkway

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Not to be confused with the Wilbur Cross Highway.

Connecticut Highway 15.svg

Wilbur Cross Parkway
Route information
Length: 29.46 mi (47.41 km)
Existed: 1941 – present
Component
highways:
Route 15 from Milford to Meriden
Restrictions: No commercial vehicles, trailers, towed vehicles, buses, or hearses[1]
Major junctions
South end: Route 15 / Merritt Parkway in Stratford
North end: US 5 / Route 15 (Berlin Turnpike) in Meriden
Highway system

The Wilbur Cross Parkway is a limited access road in Connecticut, comprising the portion of Route 15 between Milford and Meriden. It is named after Wilbur Lucius Cross, a former governor of the state (1931–1939). Being classified as a parkway, commercial vehicles, trailers, towed vehicles except as provided in Section 14-298-240,[2] buses, hearses in a procession or cortege, and large vehicles are prohibited from using the road.[1] The Wilbur Cross Parkway had two toll barriers until 1988; these were located in Milford and Wallingford.

Route description[edit]

Traveling north on the Parkway toward Exit 59 and the Heroes Tunnel.
The Heroes Tunnel is the only tunnel through a natural obstacle in Connecticut.

The four-lane Wilbur Cross Parkway begins at the Sikorsky Bridge over the Housatonic River at the town line between Milford and Stratford as a direct continuation of the Merritt Parkway. Immediately after crossing the Housatonic River is the exit for the Milford Parkway, which connects to the Connecticut Turnpike (I-95) and the Boston Post Road (US 1). The Wilbur Cross Parkway runs east northeast through the towns of Milford, Orange, Woodbridge, and New Haven. At the town line between New Haven and Hamden, the parkway passes through the West Rock Tunnel, which was renamed Heroes Tunnel in 2003 by the State of Connecticut to honor first responders. Heroes Tunnel is the only road tunnel through a natural obstacle in Connecticut. The tunnel is lighted solely using low pressure sodium vapor lamps, rare for the United States. From the West Rock Tunnel, the parkway proceeds north through the towns of Hamden, North Haven, Wallingford, and Meriden. After connecting with I-91 in Meriden, the parkway ends, merging onto North Broad Street (US 5). North of Meriden, Routes 5 and 15 continue as the Berlin Turnpike.

Dating from its history as a toll road, on the Wilbur Cross Parkway, there remain two pairs of service plazas, located in Orange and North Haven. There are separate plazas for both the northbound and southbound sides of the road, located directly opposite each other. All four plazas were renovated since 2011 and in addition to an Alltown convenience store and gas pumps at each plaza, they now include Dunkin' Donuts and Subway shops. Prior to the renovations, no counter-service food offerings existed at the plazas. There are also three abandoned rest areas along the Parkway. These were located in Woodbridge, New Haven, and Meriden.

History[edit]

The Wilbur Cross Parkway was originally planned in 1937 as route from US 1 in Milford to the Massachusetts state line in Union. The portion of the parkway south of Meriden was built largely as planned. Construction began in 1939 when federal funds were secured. The first section of the parkway to open was the Milford to Orange segment, from the Housatonic River (Exit 54) to Route 34 (Exit 57-58) at the end of 1941. Subsequent construction was delayed by World War II. After the war, two more sections of the parkway opened: the segment from US 5 in Wallingford (Exit 66) to US 5 in Meriden (Exit 68), bypassing the city center opened in 1946; and the segment from Route 10A in Hamden (Exit 61) to US 5 in Wallingford opened in 1947.

In 1948, the parkway was designated as part of a new Route 15, connecting New York to Massachusetts. Because the New Haven segment had not yet been completed, motorists were directed to temporarily follow Route 34, US 5, and Route 10A. In November 1949, the New Haven segment, from Exit 57-58 to Exit 61, including the West Rock Tunnel opened. The entire parkway was a toll road when it opened in 1941. Tolls were removed from both the Merritt and Wilibur Cross Parkways in 1988.

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in New Haven County.

Location Mile km Exit Destinations Notes
Housatonic River 36.9 59.4 Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Bridge
Route 15 south (Merritt Parkway)
Milford 37.8 60.8 54 To I‑95 / US 1 – Milford, New Haven Milford Parkway
38.4 61.8 55A Wheelers Farms Road Signed as exit 55 southbound
38.50 61.96 55B Wolf Harbor Road Northbound exit only
Orange 41.50 66.79 56 Route 121 – Orange, Ansonia
42.80 68.88 57 Route 34 east – Orange, New Haven
43.20 69.52 58 Route 34 west – Derby
New Haven 46.70 75.16 59 Route 63 / Route 69 – Woodbridge, New Haven
47.10 75.80 Heroes Tunnel
Hamden 50.20 80.79 60 Route 10 – Hamden, New Haven
51.60 83.04 61 Whitney Avenue — Hamden, New Haven
52.00 83.69 62 Dixwell Avenue Northbound exit only
North Haven 53.30 85.78 63 Route 22 – North Haven
Wallingford 58.40 93.99 64 S. Turnpike Rd., Quinnipiac St. – Wallingford
58.70 94.47 65 Route 150 – Yalesville, Wallingford
61.10 98.33 66 US 5 – Wallingford, Meriden
Meriden 63.10 101.55 ConnDOT Maintenance Facility Via Miller Avenue
64.10 103.16 67S I‑91 south – New Haven Southbound exit and northbound entrance
64.30 103.48 67 East Main Street – Downtown Meriden Joint exit with I-91
64.70 104.12 68
N-E
I‑91 north / Route 66 east – Hartford, Middletown Northbound exit and southbound entrance
65.20 104.93 68W I‑691 west – Meriden, Waterbury No southbound exit
66.70 107.34 US 5 south (North Broad Street) to Route 66 – Meriden Southern terminus of concurrency with US 5; Limited access ends
Route 15 north / US 5 north (North Broad Street to Berlin Turnpike)
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles: Registering a Pick-up Truck with Passenger Plates
  2. ^ Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies