SR 449 is the Rocky Neck Connector, a four-lane freeway that's more of a long exit ramp from I-95. It has no interchanges of its own. This is one of several connector routes, some built and some only proposed, leading I-95 motorists to state beaches.
The concept of a connector from the Connecticut Turnpike (today's I-95) dates back to at least 1954. The connector opened in fall 1958, after the Turnpike was already open to traffic.
Extension proposed, abandoned
The connector doesn't lead directly into the park (in contrast with the Hammonasset Connector, SR 450) but ends at Route 156, where park traffic turns left. In Feb. 1961, East Lyme state representative Mary G. Bishop called for extending SSR 449 across Route 156, grade separated, into the park. The state replied that provisions for this had been made in the design, but no specific engineering work had been done for an extension. In June 1961, the state included $100,000 in funding for a two-lane extension, intersecting Route 156 at-grade.
By 1969, the proposed extension – about $500,000 – would cross over Route 156 with no access ramps and continue south as a two-lane road. Merchants in South Lyme and Niantic worried about the effect losing access to Route 156 would have on local businesses. In 1979, plans were still active to extend or relocate the Connector; but they were eventually abandoned.
SSR 449: I-495?
In the 1960s, plans for a bridge somewhere across Long Island Sound were in vogue. In 1966, Groton mayor Clarence B. Sharp (see CT 349) proposed a tunnel landing in East Lyme near Rocky Neck that might have used SSR 449 to reach I-95. In 1969, a candidate for the East Lyme Board of Selectmen was convinced the state was grooming SSR 449 for Sound bridge access. No one has spoken seriously about such a bridge for quite some time.
I-95 interchange may be revised
The I-95 interchange (Exit 72) with SSR 449 is close to Exit 71 at Four Mile River Road. If I-95 is reconstructed in the area, these interchanges would be combined to remove a weaving issue between nearby ramps.