Interstate 291 (Connecticut)

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Interstate 291 marker

Interstate 291
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway
I-291 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-91
Maintained by ConnDOT
Length6.40 mi[1] (10.30 km)
Existed1958 (as State Route 291)
1994 (as I-291)–present
Major junctions
West end I-91 in Windsor
  US 5 in S. Windsor
East end I-84 in Manchester
Highway system
  • Routes in Connecticut
Route 289Route 302

Interstate 291 (I-291) is a short Interstate Highway in the state of Connecticut that starts at I-91 at its junction with Route 218 in Windsor and ends at I-84 in Manchester. It serves as a northeastern bypass of Hartford. The official length of I-291 is 6.40 miles (10.30 km), including 0.38 miles (0.61 km) of the exit ramp to the merge with eastbound I-84.

I-291 is also known as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway for its entire length.

Route description[edit]

I-291 begins at I-91 in Windsor at an interchange that also provides access to and from Route 218. Heading southeast, I-291 has a partial interchange with Route 159, then crosses the Connecticut River on the Bissell Bridge. Originally constructed in 1957, the Bissell Bridge charged a toll until 1988 when the bridge was reconstructed. It has an interchange with US 5 in South Windsor at its junction with Route 30, and ends at I-84 in Manchester in a complex interchange that also provides access to I-384.


The current I-291 is only the northeastern arc of what was originally planned as a three-quarter beltway around Hartford. From Windsor, I-291 would have continued to cross I-84 again in Farmington, and end at I-91 in Rocky Hill. While the remainder of I-291 was cancelled amidst environmental concerns, those two interchanges were built as part of I-84 and I-91 construction, and stood unused for over 20 years as ramp stubs. Half of the stack interchange at I-84 was eventually placed in service when Route 9 was extended to run along a portion of the I-291 right of way south of I-84 in 1992. The I-91 ramp was demolished in 1999 during expansion of I-91. The northernmost two miles (3 km) of the Route 9 expressway follows the original path of the southwest segment of I-291 from I-84. Route 9 currently serves as the southwest quadrant around Hartford leaving only the northwest section of I-291 unbuilt.

Route 218 is a 4-lane divided arterial route serving what would have been the northwest quadrant of the I-291 beltway. Over the years there have been discussions of constructing a multi-lane surface road from the I-84/Route 9 Stack interchange to Route 218 to complete the northwest bypass of Hartford, but funding and potential impacts to the reservoirs that supply Hartford with much of its drinking water have prevented anything from being built north of I-84. With the cancellation of the northwest quadrant of I-291, all travel between locations north and west of Hartford must pass through the I-84/I-91 interchange in Downtown Hartford. The Connecticut Department of Transportation headquarters was built on land originally acquired for I-291 where it intersects U.S. Route 5 in Newington.

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in Hartford County.

Windsor0.000.001 Route 218 – Bloomfield, WindsorWestbound exit and eastbound entrance only; exit 35B (I-91)
2A: I-91 south – Hartford
2B: I-91 north – Windsor Locks, Springfield
Signed as exits 2A (south) and 2B (north); exit 35A (I-91)
0.560.903 Route 159 – Windsor, WilsonWestbound exit and eastbound entrance only
Connecticut River1.242.00Bissell Bridge
South Windsor2.904.674 US 5 to Route 30 – South Windsor, East Hartford, East Windsor
Manchester5.408.695Tolland Turnpike – E. Hartford, ManchesterEastbound exit and westbound entrance only
6.4010.30 I-84 east – Vernon, Boston
I-84 west to I-384 – Hartford, Bolton
Exit 61 (I-84)
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata