Reconstructing Interstate 84 through Hartford is a massive undertaking and construction is still at least four years away, but there’s no shortage of opportunities for the public to be involved in the process. Those opportunities include an “open planning studio” at the Lyceum on Lawrence Street in Hartford on Thursday until 7:30 p.m. and again on Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The project is currently in the preliminary engineering phase and there are scores of design alternatives. The four main options are reconstructing the highway with the current design, building a new elevated highway, lowering the highway to ground level or below, or constructing a tunnel. Given maintenance costs for the network of bridges and ramps which carry the highway through the capital city, transportation planners say using the current design– known as the “no-build” option– is more expensive than one might think. Planners say a tunnel is also a very costly option.

Estimated costs, adjusted for inflation, range between $4 billion and $12 billion, depending on the design that’s selected. The Connecticut Department of Transportation must also figure out how to pay for the massive project. While the federal government will likely to provide some money, the state will also likely have to pay a considerable portion.

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