About the New Mix Program
The New Mix is a long-term program being undertaken by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) that will plan and implement a series of projects to address the long-term needs of Waterbury’s I-84/Route 8 interchange—commonly referred to as the “Mixmaster”.
The Mixmaster was planned and designed approximately 70 years ago and opened for public use in 1968. When it was originally built, the structural components of the Mixmaster had an anticipated lifespan of approximately 50 to 60 years, which has been extended through multiple, major rehabilitations.
Innovative in its design and engineering for the time, the Mixmaster features stacked bridges. Building upward with stacked bridges was an engineering feat which allowed a smaller footprint and economic efficiency and also addressed the area’s challenging topography. However, the stacked bridges of the Mixmaster make both rehabilitation and replacement a complicated endeavor.
The existing interchange is currently undergoing a major structural rehabilitation. When completed, this rehabilitation is expected to extend the life of the Mixmaster for up to 25 years. At that point, continued rehabilitation and repair of vital structural components will need to be reassessed from an economic and structural life-cycle perspective. There is a limit to how much the lifespan can be feasibly extended for the interchange’s steel frames and concrete decks upon which cars travel.
Safety and operational standards for roads and highways have evolved significantly since the Mixmaster was designed, which will also be taken into consideration as planning progresses. Components of the interchange such as roadway geometry (sight distance, sharpness of curves, and lane alignment), standardized shoulders, left-hand entrances and exits, spacing of interchanges and ramps, and traffic volumes will all be taken into consideration during the planning process.
Preparation for the New Mix is a complex and long-term endeavor: reconstruction of an interchange of this magnitude, whether through replacement or an intensive rehabilitation, requires a large amount of time and advanced planning in order to properly phase and fund the program. Therefore, the New Mix program will likely be phased with breakout projects that will occur over a number of years. Through each stage of the process, CTDOT will engage the public and stakeholders, providing numerous opportunities for public input.
Each set of breakout projects is intended to complement and work to advance the overall New Mix Program through incremental improvements. The potential phasing of breakout projects is described below.