Connecticut has over the past several years designated several sections of its rural two-lane highways as Scenic Roads. This designation not only encourages sightseeing along the road but helps preserve it from modifications that would detract from its appearance, such as rerouting or widening.
"Public Act No. 87-280 authorizes the Commissioner of Transportation to designate state highways or portions thereof as scenic roads in consultation with the Commissioners of Environmental Protection and Economic & Community Development.
"A scenic road is defined as any state highway that: 1) passes through agricultural land or abuts land on which is located a historic building or structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the State Register of Historic Places; or 2) affords vistas of marshes, shorelines, forests with mature trees or notable geologic or other natural features.
"The scenic road designation means that any further alteration or improvement on that section will maintain the character of the road."
The scenic road designation has proven a popular tool to help preserve the rural character of some highways. I do not know what effect it has on commercial or residential development, but it does restrict DOT operations on the road. In March 2001, Pomfret First Selectman David Patenaude, explaining how a proposed designation would affect Route 97 in that town, said that the state, not homeowners, were bound by the rules: namely, "[the DOT] cannot come in and take down trees or disturb stone walls."
In at least one instance (Glastonbury), people have complained that the large "Scenic Route" sign detracts from the very scenery we're supposed to be enjoying. Along Route 160, a local artist erected a bumper-sticker-size sign reading "Ugly state sign" with an arrow pointing to the state's official sign.
As of 2020, Connecticut has 314.19 miles of state highway designated scenic. (This is about 8.4% of total state road mileage, which as of 2010 is 3,733.20.)
The first highway to receive scenic designation was Route 234, on Feb. 20, 1990.
No interstate highways are scenic. The Merritt Parkway is the only multi-lane highway on the list. US routes 1, 7, 44, and 202 are on the list, but US 5 and US 6 have no scenic sections.
The Merritt Parkway and Route 169 are also National Scenic Byways.
Route 41 is the longest route that is scenic for its entire length (17.86 miles).
|US 1||Madison||Oct. 14, 2008||2.30||From Neck Road #2 north to Lovers Lane|
|US 1||Old Lyme||June 8, 2012||1.00||From Lieutenant River Bridge (I-95) to Griswold Avenue|
|CT 4||Farmington||Mar. 26, 2013||1.98||From Huckleberry Hill Road/Perry Street to CT 179|
|CT 4||Sharon||July 26, 1990||3.10||From US 7 west to Dunbar Road|
|CT 4||Sharon||Oct. 22, 1992||0.80||From Dunbar Road west to Old Sharon Road|
|CT 4||Harwinton||July 29,1996||1.60||From Cooks Dam west to Route 118|
|US 7||Sharon||July 26, 1990||4.29||From the Cornwall Bridge crossing of the Housatonic River north to Route 128 at the covered bridge|
|US 7||Kent||Oct. 17, 1991||10.50||From the New Milford town line north to the Cornwall town line|
|US 7||Cornwall||Jan. 3, 2002||3.56||From Kent town line north to the North Canaan town line|
|US 7||Sharon, Salisbury, Canaan||Jan. 3, 2002||10.26||From Route 128 north to the North Canaan town line|
|CT 10||Farmington||April 13, 1999||1.00||From Route 4 south to Tunxis Street|
|CT 14||Windham, Scotland||Jan. 13, 1999||4.40||From the Windham Center School to 0.3 miles east of Scotland Center|
|CT 14A||Sterling||Feb. 2, 1995||0.70||From Route 49 east to Porter Pond Road|
|CT 15||Greenwich to Stratford||Jan. 28, 1993||37.50||the Merritt Parkway from the New York state line to the Housatonic River Bridge|
|CT 17||Durham||June 26, 2001||1.40||From Route 77 north to 125 feet north of Talcott Lane|
|CT 27||Stonington, Groton||Aug. 9, 2004||0.83||From 0.25 miles north of Jerry Browne Road north to Route 184|
|CT 33||Wilton||Nov. 3, 1997||4.90||From the Wilton/Ridgefield town line south to the intersection with Old Ridgewood Road #1|
|CT 41||Sharon||July 26, 1990||4.00||From Boland Road north to Cole Road|
|CT 41||Sharon||Oct. 22, 1992||2.20||From Cole Road north to the Sharon/Salisbury town line|
|CT 41||Sharon||Oct. 22, 1992||2.20||From Boland Road south to the New York state line|
|CT 41||Salisbury||Dec. 20, 1993||8.01||From the Sharon/Salisbury town line north to the Massachusetts state line|
|US 44||Salisbury||Dec. 20, 1993||8.83||From the New York state line east to the Salisbury/North Canaan town line|
|CT 45||Washington||June 8, 2010||0.50||From the intersection with US 202 northerly to the southern limit of the section noted below|
|CT 45||Washington, Warren||Dec. 26, 1996||1.59||from south junction of SSR 478 to north junction of SSR 478 (part of Lake Waramaug Loop)|
|CT 49||North Stonington||Feb. 2, 1995||10.90||From Route 184 north to 0.10 miles before Route 165|
|CT 49||Voluntown||Feb. 2, 1995||7.90||From the Boat Launch area north to Route 14A|
|CT 53||Redding||Dec. 18, 1992||2.03||From Redding/ Weston town line north to the southern junction of Route 107|
|CT 58||Easton||May 6, 1994||3.14||From Fairfield/Easton town line north to Freeborn Road|
|CT 63||Litchfield||Jan. 4, 2002||3.37||From Morris town line north to Freeborn Road|
|CT 67||Roxbury||Nov. 14, 1993||0.87||From Ranny Hill Road south to 0.30 miles south of Route 317|
|CT 67||Roxbury||Aug. 23, 1996||2.90||From the Roxbury/Bridgewater town line east to Ranny Hill Road|
|CT 69||Burlington||Mar. 26, 2013||2.64||From the vicinity of Bradley Road, northerly to Saw Mill Road|
|CT 74||Tolland||Sep. 26, 2018||3.10||From the intersection with Merrow Road (Route195) westerly to 200 feet west of Gottier Road|
|CT 75||Suffield||Feb. 23, 2001||4.30||From the southern end of the bridge over Stony Brook north to the Massachusetts state line|
|CT 77||Guilford||May 3, 1991||11.56||From Route 146 north to the Durham/Guilford town line|
|CT 77||Durham||June 26, 2001||2.30||From the Durham/Guilford town line north to Route 17|
|CT 80||Madison||Dec. 17, 2010||2.00||From Killingworth town line westerly to Squire's Road|
|CT 82||Haddam, East Haddam||Feb. 17, 2004||0.29||From the Haddam shoreline of the Connecticut River east to Route 149 (includes the swing bridge)|
|CT 97||Pomfret||April 11, 2001||4.50||From US 44 north to Route 169|
|CT 109||Washington||Mar. 9, 2017||3.30||From Route 47, northerly to the intersection with Wood Creek Road|
|CT 118||Harwinton||July 29, 1996||0.10||From Route 4 west to Cemetery Road|
|CT 118||Litchfield||Jan. 4, 2002||2.77||From Clark Road west to Route 63|
|CT 136||Westport||July 6, 2016||1.82||From US 1 to the intersection with Bridge Street, then westerly to the west abutment of the Sugatuck River Bridge|
|CT 146||Branford, Guilford||May 29, 1990||12.20||From Eades Street, Branford to US 1, Guilford|
|CT 148||Chester||June 5, 2003||1.60||From the Chester shoreline, easterly via the Chester- Hadlyme Ferry to its intersection with Route 82 in Lyme|
|CT 149||East Haddam||Feb. 17, 2004||2.31||From Route 82 north to Creek Row|
|CT 151||East Hampton||Feb. 17, 2004||1.51||From 1.0 mile north of SSR 439/Hurd Park Road north|
|CT 154||Haddam||Jan. 13, 1994||9.16||From the Chester/Haddam town line north to the Haddam/Middletown town line|
|CT 154||Old Saybrook||Dec. 17, 2004||6.10||From US 1 north to Old Boston Post Road|
|CT 156||East Haddam||June 5, 2003||6.24||From Route 82 in East Haddam easterly to the Lyme/Old Lyme town line|
|CT 160||Glastonbury||Jan. 18, 1991||1.06||From the Roaring Brook Bridge west to the Connecticut River|
|CT 164||Preston||Feb. 1, 1994||2.58||From Old Shetucket Turnpike north to the Preston/Griswold town line|
|CT 169||Lisbon, Woodstock||April 15, 1991||32.10||From Rocky Hollow Road in Lisbon north to the Massachusetts state line|
|CT 179||Canton||Feb. 25, 1991||0.30||From the Burlington/Canton town line to the junction with SR 565|
|CT 179||Farmington||Mar. 26, 2013||1.96||From CT 4 to the Burlington/Canton town line (along with a segment of CT 4)|
|CT 181||Barkhamsted||Jan. 10, 1995||1.10||From US 44 north to Route 318|
|CT 183||Colebrook||May 20, 1994||3.10||From Route 182 north to Church Hill Road|
|CT 195||Tolland||Sep. 26, 2018||0.37||From 150 feet south of Cider Mill Connector, northerly to the intersection with Tolland Stage Road (Route 74)|
|US 202||New Hartford||Aug. 12, 1991||5.10||From the Canton/New Hartford town line west to the Bakersville Methodist Church|
|US 202||Litchfield||Jan. 4, 2002||0.47||From Route 118 west to Russell Street|
|US 202||Washington||June 8, 2010||2.80||From Rabbit Hill Road, southerly to Route 45|
|CT 203||Windham||Jan. 13m 1999||1.70||From Route 32 northerly to Route 14, Windham Center Green|
|CT 219||Barkhamsted||Jan. 10, 1995||2.60||From Route 318 south to the end of Lake McDonough Dam|
|CT 219||New Hartford||Sep. 24, 1998||0.70||From Lake McDonough Dam southerly to the south side of the "Green Bridge" (Br. No. 1561)|
|CT 234||Stonington||Feb. 20, 1990||3.16||From North Main Street west to Route 27|
|CT 244||Pomfret||Feb. 21, 2003||3.10||From Route 97 westerly to Ragged Hill Road|
|CT 254||Litchfield||Jan. 4, 2002||3.98||From Camp Hill Road in Northfield west to Route 118|
|CT 272||Norfolk||May 13, 1996||11.00||From the Norfolk/Goshen town line north to the Massachusetts state line|
|CT 317||Roxbury||Nov. 14, 1990||0.40||From Painter Hill Road west to Route 67|
|CT 318||Barkhamsted||Jan. 10, 1995||2.60||From Route 181 to Route 219|
|SSR 431||Lyme||June 5, 2003||0.26||From its intersection with Route 148 in Lyme northerly to the Lyme/East Haddam town line|
|SSR 431||East Haddam||July 24, 2003||0.54||From the Lyme/East Haddam town line northerly to the entrance to Gillette Castle State Park|
|SSR 478||Washington||Dec. 26, 1996||3.08||From the Washington/Kent town line to CT 45|
|SSR 478||Warren||Dec. 26, 1996||2.22||From the Warren/Kent town line to CT 45|
|SSR 478||Kent||Dec. 6, 2000||1.00||From the Washington/Kent town line north to the Warren/Kent town line|
|SR 565||Canton||Feb. 25, 1991||0.70||From CT 179 northeast to Allen Place|
The following routes were submitted, but were either declined outright (for which a date is provided if known), or we assume they were declined but we don't have information (aka "pocket veto").