Monday, March 7, 2011

Graffiti Highway

From Mick Melvin:

My niece and nephew told me about an abandoned highway near Route 84 going through West Hartford, CT. Of course, I thought of the photo opportunities right away.

abandoned ramp

The “highway” is actually a series of never-used on and off ramps near Route 84. They told me how to get to it and I made the trek on my mountain bike, with camera backpack in tow. I rode along the ramps and the overpasses for many hours on a beautiful spring day. (We ran a short piece with one photo about these ramps in June 2010, called "Ghost Highway" -- ed.)

There are six ramps that run underneath the overpasses and over the highway. Four of the ramps lead to the overpasses that go above Route 84 near Exit 39A leading to and from Route 9. The other two ramps were to be off ramps on the northern side of the highway.

I enjoyed the quiet while pedaling along the abandoned ramps. It's really quiet until you are practically over the highway; then you can hear the roar of the traffic below. It was really eerie being there all alone, but it was a good ride for an old fella like me.

side by side

Besides the overgrown vegetation on my journey, there was graffiti of all sorts to see along the way. I spent a good amount of time viewing the various writings and artwork on the walls, railings, and mostly the pavement.

Upper ramp across I-84

I also enjoyed the view of Route 84 while on the empty overpasses. While standing and enjoying the view, I couldn't help but think that the location could be a great park or fitness trail. Hopefully someday the abandoned highway will be utilized and be removed from backside status.

two ramp view


  1. Nice post Mick. Love the shot of the old and active highway curving next to each other!

  2. Looks like an interesting place. Frustrating example of wasted money though.

  3. Yes, Kris, it is definitely a frustrating example of waste!

  4. I live in the West Hartford area. My classmate, who lives in West Hartford, and I have ventured up to the abandoned highways and are really looking in to a way to put this waste of a site to use. We came across this article on your blog and thought about getting in touch with you for some advice/support. Is there any way we can get in contact with you directly through e-mail?

  5. Lucy:

    I'm glad to hear that you and your classmate are inspired to see something productive done with the site. I don't have any advice, other than to get in touch with the CT Highway Department and local politicians to see what's in the works, and how you can help. We certainly support any and all efforts to find ways to reuse rundown areas of all sorts. And we'd be glad to help out in any way we can. The Backside Gang comprises several people from all areas of the country, but those of us in the Northeast may be able to support your efforts.

    Good luck!