Route 213 is a U-shaped highway serving parks and beaches in Waterford and New London. Officially, it's a north-south route, and Route 156 is the south end.

CT 213 History

Commissioned in 1932, Route 213 originally extended 4.71 miles, from Route 85 to a dead end at Ocean Beach, along Jefferson Avenue and Ocean Avenue. (Jefferson Avenue carried two-way traffic along its entire length.) In the 1950s, a trip to the shore from Hartford might include Route 2, Route 85 and finally Route 213.

A portion of today's Route 213 in Waterford was added to the state highway system in 1951 as SR 651, extending from Rope Ferry Road to a short distance south of Braman Road.

1963: Completing the "U"

In 1960, the state's Committee to Reclassify All Public Roads recommended the following:

In 1963, the highway department took that advice, extending Route 213 west and north in Waterford. It also modified the New London portion, moving Route 213 from Jefferson Avenue to Colman Street, to end at I-95. The new length was about 8.4 miles:

The state wanted to turn over Lee Avenue to the city as well, because it was planning a new freeway (Route 11) heading to Ocean Beach. The city of New London countered that the freeway would not be arriving for a while (and, in the following decades, was cancelled outright). The city prevailed, and Lee Avenue remained.

1972: Parallel one-way streets

To improve traffic flow, in early 1972 the state converted parts of Jefferson Avenue and Colman Street to a one-way pair. This met with some controversy with some worried about motorist confusion and high speeds. The state formalized this in 1974:

1976: US 1 move takes a piece of Route 213

From the mid-1940s through the mid-1970s, US 1 followed the freeway alignment of today's I-95 through New London. The former US 1, using Bank, Truman, Jay, and Huntington Streets, was US 1A.

In 1976, to clean up route numbering in the area, the state moved US 1 off I-95, replacing Route 51 and US 1A. Around the same time (possibly earlier, connected with the new Route 32 freeway), US 1 was moved from Huntington Street to Colman Street, replacing a portion of Route 213. (As a side note, Colman Street may be the one stretch of US 1 in Connecticut that runs near true north-south for more than a couple blocks.)

1970s: Safety improvements considered

In 1973, a 13-year old motorcycle passenger died in a head-on collision when her driver crossed the centerline of Great Neck Road on a curve. Waterford officials, citing Route 213 as one of the most dangerous roads in town, proposed that the state reconstruct about 0.7 miles of the road, from about 500 feet west of Dimmock Road to 800 feet east of Lloyd Road.

The state responded with a plan to reconstruct the road; but residents called the plans too drastic and damaging to the character of the area. The issue appears to have come to a close in 1980, where the state proposed a demonstration project of much smaller changes (signs, signals, striping, minor realignment) to address safety issues.

CT 213 Sources