Monday, December 15, 2008

Merritt Parkway Turns 70

There was an article in the October 13th Stratford, Ct. paper. This 4-lane highway was designed by noted architect George L. Dunkelberger and landscape architect Weld Thayer Chase who worked closely together designing the large parkway with trees and grass to separate the lanes. The outside lanes had places for folks to pull over and have picnics while enjoying the scenery.

It was named the Merritt Parkway for the Connecticut Congressman Schuyler Merritt who proposed it to relieve traffic on US Route 1. It is located in Fairfield County, CT. an is on the list of the National Resister of Historic Places.

The first 17.5 miles of it officially opened June 29, 1938. Bridges were of art deco/neo-classical and modern design with some of them being WPA projects. Tolls were charged at first, but, believe it or not, removed in 1988. I NEVER thought tolls were removed anywhere, anyhow. One old toll plaza is preserved at Stratford's Boothe memorial Park (just a coincidence in name).

Today, the Parkway runs 37 miles. Exit numbers were attached to the interchanges in 1947 and the official name is Ct-15.

There is a two-day Merritt Parkway Tour at
www.byways.org/explore/byways/2452/itinerary/4071

An Impressive Early Form of the Interstate. --RoadDog

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