There are over 200 "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 700s. In the current numbering system, these are found in south and southwest areas of the state.

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

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  • Length 0.81 miles
  • From US 5 in Wallingford
  • To I-91 exit 13 in Wallingford

SR 702 is the Wharton Brook Connector, a short freeway (or long set of ramps) connecting US 5 to I-91 exit 13. Short-range plans in the early 1960s called for extending the freeway west to the Hartford Turnpike; longer-range plans even included a freeway roughly along Route 42, extending from Route 8 to Route 17. The Route 42 freeway never progressed beyond a dotted line on regional planning maps.

In the 1950s, the cities of Hamden and Wallingford (among others) were working out where the Relocated Route 5 freeway (today's I-91) should go. In 1956, the proposed line was an "Eastern Route" very similar to today's; but in the next few years, other alignments closer to downtown were considered, including a "Valley Route", near the Quinnipiac River, and a "Middle Route", between Elm and Main streets.

The Eastern Route, bypassing more developed areas, turned out to be the preferred alternative. There remained only the issue of how to move traffic from downtown to the new freeway. Center Street in Wallingford (Route 150) by itself would be overwhelmed. I-91 would need additional connector routes to US 5.

In November 1959, the state Highway Department announced it was recommending the Eastern Route for I-91, along with a connector passing by Wharton Brook state park to Toelle's Crossing at US 5.

By 1963, the design for the Wharton Brook Connector had matured. A planning map (shown in 1961) depicted four interchanges along the freeway:

In 1963, three connector projects in Wallingford were under discussion:

In 1969, as part of a $250 million statewide plan, $1.5 million was included for engineering and land acquisition for the connector. The state engaged a design firm to plan the project in 1970.

In 1974, legislators considered diverting funds from a Route 68 project to help complete an SR 702 extension to the Hartford Turnpike by the target date of 1978.

In 1975, the state estimated it would cost $9 million to extend the route 0.7 miles west to the Hartford Turnpike, just beyond Route 15. I don't know if an interchange was planned at Route 15, also known as the Wilbur Cross Parkway; a similar connector highway, Route 40, crosses the Parkway to the south with no access at all.

I haven't found any plans later than 1975 to extend SR 702.

Its western terminus had been notorious as one of the most dangerous intersections in Wallingford; in 2010, the state widened US 5 and added turning lanes to mitigate problems there.

SR 702 Sources

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  • Summary An old number for state highways in Bridgeport, Canaan and North Haven.

For a few years ending in 1998, this route consisted solely of the E. Washington Avenue bridge over the Pequonnock River in Bridgeport. It was listed at 0.04 miles, about 70 yards, which would be an impressive field goal. SR 724 didn't connect to any other numbered route: a good reminder that secret routes are merely stretches of state-maintained road, and don't have to go anywhere.

The SR 724 number has also been used for Sand Road in Canaan and the first segment of the Route 40 freeway until it was completed in 1976.

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  • Length 1.05 miles
  • From I-95 exit 53 in Branford
  • To US 1 in Branford

The Branford Connector is a 2-lane divided connector – a short freeway – from I-95 to US 1. Guide signs on I-95 mark it as an exit for US 1, Route 142 and Route 146 to Short Beach (see photo). Its interchange with I-95 is incomplete, offering access to and from only the west.

The Connector opened in 1958 along with the Connecticut Turnpike. In 1963 it was designated SR 994, as part of a group of Turnpike spurs numbered in the 990s. In 1964, its number was changed to SR 794, to fit in with the other 700s routes in its district.

SR 794 Sources

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The Milford Parkway is a four-lane expressway connecting Route 15 (the Merritt Parkway and Wilbur Cross Parkway), I-95, and US 1 in Milford. In 1963, this was designated SR 996, as part of a group of Turnpike spurs numbered in the 990s. In 1964, its number was changed to SR 796, to fit in with the other 700s routes in its district.

SR 796 History

Access to US 1 needed

If the Merritt Parkway had been built as originally planned, there would be no Milford Parkway today: the Merritt would have turned south in Stratford to touch down at US 1 near East Main Street.

Instead, the Merritt was relocated to the present-day Sikorsky Bridge crossing over the Housatonic River, and the Wilbur Cross Parkway continued northeasterly. A connection to US 1 was needed, and the Milford Parkway was constructed. It opened on Sept. 2, 1942 at a cost of $800,000 (in today's terms, $0.8 million).

The highway's original configuration had a trumpet interchange at the Merritt Parkway, the trumpet's "bell" to the west; and a trumpet at US 1, "bell" open to the east. With other crossings included, the parkway had five bridges in all.

Modifications to the Parkway

In 1958, the Connecticut Turnpike (today's I-95) opened, and four ramps were added at its crossing at the Milford Parkway. These ramps provide full access between I-95 and Route 15 in all directions, but no access from I-95 to US 1 using the Parkway. (However, on I-95, the next interchange is always a stone's throw away; access to US 1 was available at nearby points.)

In the mid-1990s the Parkway was extended slightly. The trumpet was inverted horizontally so that the loop ramp was to the east instead of from the west; and ramps from these ramps (ramplets?) were added to Willington Road Extension.

Recent news

In April 2003 the Milford Parkway was named the "Daniel S. Wasson Connector," honoring a police officer slain in the line of duty 16 years previously.

The state in 2003 modified the end of the ramp onto US 1 northbound to create more of a 90-degree angle.

SR 796 Sources