In 1655, the ferry across the Connecticut River started service, as a raft guided by long poles.
In the 1920s, State Highway 160 followed today's Route 177, from Plainville (route 372) to Canton (US 44).
The modern Route 160 was commissioned in 1932, and is basically unchanged since then.
In Sept. 1960, however, Glastonbury state representatives submitted a bill asking that Hopewell Road be added to the state highway system. This road, leading eastward from Route 17 in South Glastonbury to New London Turnpike (Route 2 at the time), served significant non-local traffic, and was deemed a logical extension of Route 160 by town officials. However, the Hopewell Road request did not pass the General Assembly, and it never became a state road.
Commuters: Rate hikes on ferry 'all wet'
(My attempt at a New York Post-style headline) In September 2003, the state raised fares significantly on both the Route 148 and Route 160 ferries: from $2.25 to $5 per vehicle, and from $0.75 to $1.75 per additional passenger or cyclist. A discounted advance purchase plan, at about 50 percent off, has been discontinued.
This was not popular.
The DOT said the rate hike was required by the state's budget implementation bills; and in the remarks of Chris Cooper, communications director, the seasonal ferry "could hardly be considered part of the state's transportation infrastructure." However, Route 160 does serve commuter traffic between the two Hartford suburbs it connects; operators say about 40 percent of its riders are commuters.
Some drivers are worried that the rate hikes are behind a plan to scale back or even stop the ferry service. Even though ConnDOT assures that this will not happen, activists point out that ridership will decrease (demand curve, Econ 101) and it will appear that the ferry is underused or not needed.
A sign only its mother could love
On January 18, 1991, a segment of Route 160 in Glastonbury was designated a state scenic road. Doing this not only highlights the nearby scenery (in this case, 18th-century homes and farms) but also protects it from certain types of development and construction. You wouldn't expect a lot of controversy from this move.
However, the state installed new signs – 6 feet square, with white text on blue background – saying "SCENIC ROAD." Ironically, residents called them eyesores. One resident attached a smaller homemade sign to the post, reading "Ugly state sign" with an arrow pointing to the state sign.
Uncover a little more history, and this reaction is less surprising. This section of town, called Nayaug, flirted unseriously with secession in the 1970s, proclaiming itself "The 51st State." Among the other signs erected along Route 160 over the years have been "Rattlesnake Crossing", and "On this spot / 357 years ago / nothing happened." Even a statue of Cornwallis was erected at one point. Eccentricity is part of the area's charm.