MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Construction to reconfigure the Route 17 on-ramp to Route 9 North in Middletown is officially underway. It’s been called one of the most dangerous interchanges in the state.

Now work will be done to make the route safer.

Right now — drivers have to come to a complete stop before merging into oncoming traffic.

“Usually, that traffic is going 60-70 mph,” said Garrett Eucalitto, Connecticut Department of Transportation commissioner.

“This project is going to eliminate that stop sign and create a full-length acceleration lane to speed up safely and merge into traffic heading north,” Eucalitto said.

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The current configuration has resulted in 319 crashes and 27 injuries between 2019 and 2022.

“What this is going to do is correct one of the gravest errors and one of the most significant safety challenges that was created when we turned a local road into a highway,” Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim said.

Other facets of this 50-million-dollar project, will replace the bridge carrying Route 17 over Route 9 to accommodate the new acceleration lane and remove Harbor Drive access to Route 9.

The Main Street extension intersection will also be re-aligned and signalized — and a new sidewalk will be added.

“It’s not uncommon to drive by and see accidents — or hear about it — in the community. This news is great, I’m happy we’re taking action,” State Rep. Kai Belton (D-Middletown) said.

The project is expected to be completed in 2026.