CT 189
  • Length 22.2 miles; 20.32 miles in Connecticut.
  • From US 44 in West Hartford
  • To MA 57 in Granville, Mass.

The short section of shared four-lane freeway with Route 187 in North Bloomfield alludes to the ambitious upgrades once planned for Route 189: a radial freeway from Hartford to Granby, intersecting with two or three other (also cancelled) freeways.

CT 189 History

Commissioned in 1932, Route 189 was initially a short (7.05 miles) highway leading from Route 20 in Granby to the state line. Today's Route 189 south of there was part of the old Route 9, which has since been upgraded to a freeway and now ends in Farmington. In March 1963, part of Route 9 was redesignated as an extension of Route 189, southward to US 44.

Some were unhappy with Route 9's new designation. In 1963, State Rep. Albert Sweeton claimed Granby's prestige would suffer by losing Route 9, and offered to help find out the meaning of the new number if authorized by town selectmen.

At the time, Granby was slated to have as many as three new freeways built: Route 9 (now 189), Route 10, and Route 20. None of these plans came to fruition, and depending on viewpoint, Granby has been either neglected or spared.

A new Farmington River bridge, and leaving Spoonville Road

Until the mid-1950s, Route 9 (now Route 189) followed Tunxis Avenue from North Bloomfield to Tariffville, crossing the Farmington River into East Granby and back into Tariffville. There were three Route 9 bridge in the area:

In 1951, the state unveiled plans to relocate Route 9 to the opposite bank of the river, bypassing a substandard section of Tunxis Ave in East Granby, and eliminating the crossings at the Middle and Spoonville bridges. (Route 187 would still cross at Spoonville.)

In August 1955, Mother Nature took the initiative on some demolition work, as floods washed away several bridges along the Farmington River – including the Middle and Spoonville Bridges. Temporary bridges were built to carry Route 9 across to the Route 187 junction in East Granby and back across toward Tariffville using Hatchett Hill Road (today's SR 540).

In the following year and a half, the state discussed Route 9 plans. East Granby favored keeping the original alignment, including two replacement bridges. Meanwhile, the state was developing plans for relocating Route 9 throughout Bloomfield, starting in the north, at the Farmington River.

On Sept. 2, 1958, work began on Routes 9 and 187. Route 9 would stay on the south side of the river, located along a new two-lane limited access highway; and a new bridge to the west would carry Route 187 across. The "Middle Bridge", connecting East Granby to Tariffville, would not be replaced. A short four-lane freeway would carry Route 9 southerly over Tariffville Road.

On Jan. 11, 1960, the new Route 9 opened. It's similar to the way the Route 187/189 freeway is today; except the original freeway narrowed to two lanes and followed the Route 9(189) mainline. In the late 1980s, coordinated with Route 187 widening, the south end of the freeway was relocated to follow Route 187. Route 189 now diverges at a T-intersection.

Route 189 freeway once planned

From the 1940s through the late 1970s, Hartford and the state had plans for a freeway in the Route 189 corridor, from I-84 Exit 46 toward North Bloomfield. North of there, the route would either have veered toward Bradley International Airport or toward Route 10 in Granby.

It's not certain the 1960 freeway would have been included in all plans. The trumpet interchange empties onto two-lane roads, so a lot of work would have to have been redone.

ConnDOT dropped the 189 freeway plan on January 26, 1973. All that remains:

For detailed history, see: Woods River Expressway.

In 1975, the state did recommend building a "new highway" (not freeway) for Route 189 from Tower Avenue to Route 218, probably on the east side of the University of Hartford campus. This would have been in the proposed 189 freeway corridor, along the Park River north branch.

North Bridge was replaced, as well

Old Hartford Ave. in Granby leads to the site of the former North Bridge, connecting to Main St. in Tariffville. It survived the 1955 flood, but was replaced later.

CT 189 Sources