In the 1920s, the main road from Bridgeport to Newtown via Monroe was called state highway 122. In 1932, Route 25 was created, incorporating Route 122 and other roads north.
Alignment changes, pre-expressway
The 1932 version of Route 25 extended 59.53 miles from Bridgeport to Torrington. It was one of the longest highways in Connecticut.
Its alignment, from south to north:
- Bridgeport to Monroe using Main Street and today's Route 111;
- Monroe, Newtown to US 6 along today's Route 25;
- from US 6 to Hawleyville Road along Currituck Road (now a town road);
- from Currituck/Hawleyville intersection to Brookfield Center along today's Route 25;
- Brookfield Center to Bridgewater along today's Route 133;
- Bridgewater to New Milford along today's Route 67;
- New Milford to Torrington along today's US 202.
For about 20 years, Route 25 intersected Route 8 not in Bridgeport, but in Torrington. This could win you a bar bet.
In 1932, the Hawleyville Road portion of today's Route 25 (near future I-84 exit 9) was called Route 25A. By 1934, Route 25 was rerouted there, away from Currituck Road, and Route 25A was deleted.
On April 28, 1943, in the interest of simplifying the area highway network, Route 25 was moved from Bridgewater (the Route 133 and Route 67 alignment) to meet US 7 at Brookfield Four Corners (where Route 25 ends today). It then overlapped with US 7 into New Milford, then continued to Torrington as before. This left the highway a bit shorter, at 58.67 miles.
In Litchfield, there are two segments of "Old Route 25", east of Goslee Road and west of Morris Road, that are evident only from wide spots in the road where trees haven't grown back. The first alignment appears on Google Maps, but is not drivable.
In 1963, Route 25 was extended further along present-day US 202 to US 44 in Canton, for a length of 71 miles. The extension replaced a segment of Route 4 that was shifted southward.
On May 1, 1974, US 202 got its present route, and now Route 25 ends in Brookfield.
The Route 25 Freeway
The state has planned since the late 1950s to upgrade Route 25 to a freeway linking Bridgeport and Danbury via Newtown and I-84. There have been two catchy slogans: "25 by 65", advocating finishing the route by 1965, and "25 to 84 by 85", the reprise. The slogans were apparently insufficiently catchy; 25 never reached I-84.
The state started funding the first segment, from I-95 to Lindley Street, with a $5.2 million appropriation in 1959. With follow-up funds of $8 million in 1961 and $16.1 million in 1963, the nearly $30 million was sufficient to start construction.
The portion of Route 25 overlapping Route 8 opened in sections between 1969 and 1972. Construction in Bridgeport and Trumbull started in the early 1970s, but was halted in 1973 by Gov. Thomas Meskill over concerns about how the interchanges with the Merritt Parkway would affect the Parkway's character. The remainder of the Route 25 expressway, extending to Route 111, opened in 1982.
Planning in Monroe and Newtown
Meanwhile, the state continued planning for the approximately 9.5 miles from Route 111 to I-84 in Newtown.
In 1958, the plan in Monroe called for a four-lane freeway, built to Interstate standards, with an interchange at Route 111 and one or two more interchanges in town. A detailed alignment was not yet discussed.
In 1969, the General Assembly authorized funds for engineering the relocation of Route 25, and in Jan. 1971 a corridor hearing was held in Monroe. At that time, the location south of Route 111 had already been determined, and design work on the northern terminus (I-84 exit 11) was also complete.
The state presented three alternatives and endorsed one which appeared to have the least impact while serving the greatest traffic need. This alignment stayed east of current Route 25 (Main Street), but remained close by until Upper Stepney, where it would intersect an extended Route 110. Then the expressway would extend nearly true north, until it veered west slightly ahead of Sugarloaf Road to intersect I-84 at exit 11.
However, at the time there were no funds for building the road, only for studying it. The state's 1975 Master Transportation Plan included the expressway, at a length of 9.5 miles and cost estimated at $65 million.
In 1978, the state environmental protection commission ruled that two segments of Route 25 could be built; however, to meet air control standards, they could not open until February 1983, and theoretically would have to close eight years later. This ruling was later amended; construction resumed in the late 1970s, and Route 25 opened to Route 111 on Feb. 1, 1982. The old surface Route 25 became part of Route 111 and Main Street. Route 25 did not close in 1991.
Although several alternatives for completing Route 25 were studied in the 1980s, funding problems helped cause the state to abandon expressway plans in 1993. Smaller-scale improvements, up to a four-lane undivided upgrade, are still being contemplated; see "Future", below.
I-84 Exit 11 was to cap Route 25
The Route 34 interchange at I-84 Exit 11, constructed in 1973, was the planned northern terminus of the Route 25 expressway. Since no expressway will be built, current plans for I-84 in Newtown call for dismantling exit 11 and building a diamond interchange connecting to an extended Wasserman Way. (See "Future", below, for more information).