Hartford’s Capital Gateway Plan Sets Course for Stronger Communities

WSP USA led an urban design effort that identified transit-oriented development opportunities that will benefit communities surrounding the I-84 highway corridor.

HARTFORD, CT — The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and the city of Hartford collaborated with WSP USA, a leading engineering and professional services consultancy, and HOK, a global architecture and urban design firm, to develop the Capital Gateway Concept Plan for areas that will be impacted by the comprehensive Interstate 84 (I-84) Hartford Project.

The I-84 Hartford project is an infrastructure initiative to address aging and outdated bridge structures along I-84 between Downtown Hartford and Parkville. This new segment of I-84 will change local street grids, the locations of rail line and stations serving Amtrak, CTrail Hartford Line, and freight trains, and adjust the alignments of CTfastrak and CTtransit bus routes.

As the prime consultant, WSP worked with HOK on a peer review of the I-84 Hartford Project and created a comprehensive program (the Concept Plan) that will help the City of Hartford achieve its development goals on the complex I-84 Hartford Project.

The City of Hartford is seeking to maximize development potential in its western downtown area by leveraging infrastructure investments made by the I-84 Hartford Project. The challenge has been making sure that the priorities and concerns from multiple stakeholders are properly addressed and organized.

“The I-84 Hartford Project is more than the reconstruction of a segment of the highway,” said Sandra Fry, senior project manager for the City of Hartford, Department of Development Services. “This project will improve access to all aspects of travel to and from the city. The impacted area known as the Capital Gateway is envisioned to become a vibrant and thriving destination.”

“The WSP project team navigated the conflicting priorities of multiple parties during the peer review and represented the city’s interest in the state DOT-led engineering design process,” added John Loughran, leader of the urban design and placemaking practice, WSP project manager. “The concept plan will improve mobility and access, create a district that strengthens a sense of place for the community, and sets the stage for economic development connected to transit.”

The concept plan develops urban design strategies and identifies preferred infrastructure design elements that are essential for implementing the City’s transit-oriented development vision.

“The proposed concept master plan is transformative; it stitches together Downtown Hartford and its surrounding neighborhoods, which have been divided physically and visually by the original I-84” said William Kenworthey, regional leader of urban design based in HOK’s New York studio. “Centered around a new Intermodal Transit Center, this plan creates a walkable mixed-use center and recommends decking over infrastructure at strategic locations to better connect the pedestrian environment.”

The project team also identified implementation strategies, including financial solutions to support the city as it carries this plan forward. Once implemented, this area will become a gateway to the capital city, a district with unique historic and cultural characters, and a center for job and population growth.

About WSP USA
WSP USA is the U.S. operating company of WSP, one of the world's leading engineering and professional services firms. Dedicated to serving local communities, we are engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors and construction management professionals. WSP USA designs lasting solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water and environment markets. With more than 9,500 employees in 150 offices across the U.S., we partner with our clients to help communities prosper. wsp.com

About HOK

HOK designs buildings and spaces that respond to the needs of people and the environment. HOK designers are rooted in technical excellence, driven by imagination and focused on a solitary goal: to deliver solutions that inspire clients and communities. More: www.hok.com

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The plan creates a walkable mixed-use center to better connect the pedestrian environment.