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WSP and HOK’s Hartford Capital Gateway Plan Promotes Transit-Oriented Development

Urban design effort identifies transit-oriented development opportunities that will benefit communities surrounding the I-84 highway corridor in Hartford.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and the City of Hartford collaborated with WSP USA and HOK to develop the Capital Gateway Concept Plan for areas that will be impacted by the comprehensive Interstate 84 (I-84) Hartford Project.

The I-84 project is an infrastructure initiative to address aging and outdated bridge structures along I-84 between Downtown Hartford and Parkville. This new segment of I-84 will change local street grids, the locations of rail line and stations serving Amtrak, CTrail Hartford Line, and freight trains, and adjust the alignments of CTfastrak and CTtransit bus routes.

As the prime consultant, WSP worked with HOK on a peer review of the I-84 Hartford Project and created a comprehensive program (the Concept Plan) that will help the City of Hartford achieve its development goals on the complex I-84 Hartford Project.

The City of Hartford is seeking to maximize development potential in its western downtown area by leveraging infrastructure investments made by the I-84 Hartford Project. The challenge has been making sure that the priorities and concerns from multiple stakeholders are properly addressed and organized.

“The I-84 Hartford Project is more than the reconstruction of a segment of the highway,” said Sandra Fry, senior project manager for the City of Hartford, Department of Development Services. “This project will improve access to all aspects of travel to and from the city. The impacted area known as the Capital Gateway is envisioned to become a vibrant and thriving destination.”

“The WSP project team navigated the conflicting priorities of multiple parties during the peer review and represented the City’s interest in the State DOT-led engineering design process,” added John Loughran, leader of the urban design and placemaking practice, WSP project manager. “The Concept Plan will improve mobility and access, create a district that strengthens a sense of place for the community, and sets the stage for economic development connected to transit.”

The concept plan develops urban design strategies and identifies preferred infrastructure design elements that are essential for implementing the City’s transit-oriented development (TOD) vision.

“The proposed concept master plan is transformative. It stitches together downtown Hartford and its surrounding neighborhoods, which have been divided physically and visually by the original I-84,” said William Kenworthey, regional leader of urban design based in HOK’s New York studio. “Centered around a new Intermodal Transit Center, this plan creates a walkable mixed-use center and recommends decking over infrastructure at strategic locations to better connect the pedestrian environment.”

The project team also identified implementation strategies, including financial solutions to support the city as it carries this plan forward. Once implemented, this area will become a gateway to Hartford, a district with unique historic and cultural characters, and a center for job and population growth.

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