There are 226 "secret" routes in Connecticut: highways with numbers above 400. "Secret" is just an unofficial term for unsignposted state roads and state service roads. Many of these are small auxiliary roads, or even long exit ramps.

The general public should never hear about secret routes, but they sometimes show up on maps, and a few road signs have even gone up.

This page discusses some of the more interesting routes in the 400s. These are Special Service Roads, or SSR's, serving state institutions such as parks, hospitals, and airports.

See also: selected 500's, selected 600's, selected 700's, selected 800's, selected 900's, or the complete list (400-999).

SSR 401

2.29 miles. SSR 401 is a freeway from Route 20 in Windsor Locks to Bradley International Airport, including a partial interchange at Hamilton Road North. East of the freeway's end, SSR 401 continues along Schoephoester Rd, a surface street, to Route 75. The Bradley Airport Connector (routes 20 and 401 from I-91) opened on July 3, 1961.

When Airport Terminal A was constructed in 1985, a jughandle intersection was created to guide eastbound SSR 401 traffic to the terminal. This intersection (one of the few like it in the state) required left-turning traffic to instead veer right onto a hook roadway (the handle) that would then cross the main road at a traffic signal.

On Oct. 22, 2002, as part of a new airport improvement project, the westbound section of SSR 401 passing by the airport was closed. Airport traffic could still use the terminal roadway for parking, dropoffs, and pickups. But other traffic bound for Route 20 had to go east and use Route 75.

The reason for this change: to divert non-airport traffic away from the vicinity of the terminals. Certainly not only traffic concerns but security concerns played a role. Some airport plans have shown the jughandle converted into a flyover, which would remove a traffic signal, but as of late 2009 the jughandle is still there.

This redirection also gave rise to Connecticut's newest highway: SSR 403, which is the westbound one-way road leading from SSR 401 at the jughandle, along the terminal entrances, and ending at SSR 401 where it becomes a freeway. SSR 403 is called the "Robert F. Juliano Highway", named after a bureau chief for the Connecticut DOT's Bureau of Aviation and Ports who died in 2001.

Circa 2009, however, the one-way section of SSR 401 was reverted to two-way. The traffic impacts of making the earlier change were found to be minor compared to the loss of driver convenience.

Sources:
 
SSR 403

1.09 miles; SSR 403 is the one-way terminal access road at Bradley International Airport. As departures and arrivals are handled on different levels, SSR 403 has an upper and lower section; it joins I-84 and Route 8 as the only highways in Connecticut with double-decked sections. SSR 403 is unique in that both levels are in the same direction.

SSR 403 was designated in 2002, when the portion of SSR 401 passing the airport was made one-way eastbound.

 
SSR 411

1.98 miles; West Street in Rocky Hill, connecting Route 3, Route 99, and exit 23 on I-91. It serves commercial and industrial traffic, but the reason for state maintenance is a state facility: Dinosaur State Park, which was the intended site of a bureaucratic office until dinosaur footprints were discovered during groundwork.

 
SSR 434

10.15 miles; this L-shaped road forms a loop with Route 82 in East Haddam. SR 434 is one of Connecticut's longest "secret" routes; only SR 800 is longer. SR 434 serves Devil's Hopyard State Park.

In 1962, the state planned to turn over the road to East Haddam; but area officials persuaded the state to retain the route.

Sources:
  • "New Area Roads Discussed by Assembly Committee." New Haven Register, March 6, 1963.
 
SSR 449

1.07 miles; SR 449 is the Rocky Neck Connector, a four-lane freeway from I-95 to Route 156 in East Lyme. This is one of several connector routes, some built and some only proposed, leading I-95 motorists to state beaches.

 
SSR 450

4.46 miles; SR 450 is the Hammonasset Connector, from Route 79 to US 1 in Madison. The freeway part (south of I-95) opened in 1957 and serves Hammonasset State Park.

As you reach the end of the connector driving southbound, you'll see room to each side where some offramps could be built. The state had once planned to build an interchange there; the 1975 MTP proposed a $1.4 million interchange with US 1. SSR 450 would continue to the park entrance. In fact, SSR 450 did officially cross US 1 into the park, but was retracted to US 1 on April 13, 1984.

In the 1960s, the Tri-State Transportation Commission proposed a Route 79 expressway from Middlefield to Madison; the southern terminus would use SR 450's alignment to end at US 1. This plan was not implemented, and has probably not been considered since 1970.

Sources:
  • "Tri-State Transportation 1985; an interim plan." Tri-State Transportation Commission, 1966.
  • "1975 Master Transportation Plan." Connecticut Department of Transportation.
  • Route Change Notice, ConnDOT, Nov. 8, 1984.
 
SSR 452

SSR 452 is one of the few numbers reserved for a highway that does not yet exist. This connector from I-95 to Silver Sands state park in Milford, was proposed in 1963. An 8-acre plot of land at Myrtle Beach in Milford was turned over to the state for development as a new state park. The road would intersect I-95 at exit 35 (Schoolhouse Road).

Similar links from I-95 to shoreline state parks include the Sherwood Island Connector (SSR 476), the Hammonassett Connector (SSR 450), the Rocky Neck Connector (SSR 449), and an unbuilt Bluff Point connector in Groton. I haven't seen what the profile of SSR 452 would be (two lanes? four lanes? Divided?)

In the state's 1975 Master Transportation Plan, SSR 452 was estimated as 1.5 miles of new road for $5 million. In the late 1990s the state continued studying this link, using the name route number, but nothing has been built.

The delay is not the fault of the DOT or state highway funding: development of the park itself was delayed for decades over funding and environmental concerns, as well as an evicted squatter on the property. Groundbreaking for the park occurred in 1997, and the park is now open. The connector might be postponed indefinitely.

Sources:
  • "New Area Roads Discussed by Assembly Committee." New Haven Register, March 6, 1963.
  • "1975 Master Transportation Plan." Connecticut Department of Transportation.
 
SSR 476

1.41 miles; from Sherwood Island state park to US 1 in Westport, including a 5-ramp interchange with I-95. South of I-95 the road is four lanes divided; to the north, it is three lanes undivided, two going north.

Original Merritt Parkway plans called for a spur to Sherwood Island from the Parkway, leading from the never-built Exit 43. The Hillandale Road overpass, on SSR 476 just south of US 1, was built wide enough for a four-lane freeway to pass underneath.

 
SSR 478

West from Route 45 to a dead end north of Lake Waramaug; and west from 45 to a dead end south of Lake Waramaug.

The highway appears to be in two parts when printed on maps, but actually has a gap in the middle (in the town of Kent) that is not maintained by the state.

On January 10, 2001, the State Transportation Commissioner announced that the segment of SSR 478 in Kent was designated a scenic road; along with the previously designated parts of SSR 478 and Route 45, this completes a scenic loop around Lake Waramaug.

Sources:
  • "Section of route 478 in Kent designated as scenic road." Press release, ConnDOT, Jan. 10, 2001.