About This Location
In Farmington, Connecticut, a mysterious and colossal structure stands as a testament to a grand vision that was never fully realized - the abandoned I-84 Stack Exchange. Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of this western Hartford suburb, this four-level stack interchange has intrigued passersby on Interstate 84 for decades. This unique and semi-abandoned structure has captured the imagination of many, serving as both an enigmatic relic and a symbol of unfulfilled plans in the world of transportation.
Dominating the horizon, this interchange looms like an ancient ruin amidst the surrounding forest. While it orignally was mainly abandoned, recent developments have given it a semblance of life. However, before delving into its fascinating history, let's explore what makes this structure so intriguing.
Highways are constructed on a grand scale, often drawing attention and occasionally inviting ridicule from the public, even among those with little interest in transportation. The Stack, though not sporting Evel Knievel-style ramps ending mid-air, garnered attention due to its sheer size and original lack of use. When the public noticed a lot of stack not being used after being completed, it became a symbol of perceived Department of Transportation (DOT) hubris and missteps. It was impossible for people to not notice the structure.
Amidst the intriguing tales of the I-84 Stack Exchange, one can find an unofficial "Neverpass" sign, a humorous testament to this mysterious structure. Yet, the Stack has been more than just a subject for pranks; it's a reminder of ambitious plans and unforeseen challenges.
The story of the I-84 Stack Exchange goes back to the 1940s when plans for the East-West Expressway, now known as I-84, first emerged. These plans evolved over the years, and by the 1960s, a four-level stack interchange was envisioned as part of the project. Construction commenced in the late 1960s and was completed in anticipation of the I-291 Beltway, a circumferential freeway, which was expected to be finished around 1972.
However, the fate of the I-291 Beltway took an unexpected turn in the 1970s, facing challenges related to the MDC reservoirs in West Hartford. As a result, I-291 north of I-84 was canceled, and work on the southwest quadrant of the Stack was even stopped in 1973. For over two decades, I-84 passed beneath the unused roadways, giving rise to legends of its colossal size and potential use.
A New Life with Route 9:
In 1992, the Stack found new purpose when Route 9 was connected to I-84 at this interchange, opening several ramps to traffic for the first time. While Route 9 breathed life into a portion of the Stack, some ramps remained unused, awaiting an uncertain future.
The question that lingers is whether the rest of the I-84 Stack Exchange will ever find its purpose. With no plans to extend Route 9 or any public proposals for further development, the Stack remains a complex reminder of ambitious transportation projects and the challenges they can face.
For now, this towering structure, once considered a symbol of an unfinished highway, stands as a silent and enigmatic monument amidst the Connecticut landscape, inviting both intrigue and reflection. While not open to the public, the I-84 Stack Exchange is best viewed from a distance, serving as a unique, if costly, relic of infrastructure history.