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Driver Trapped After Crashing Into Pole


A driver was trapped inside a car after crashing into a light pole on Hillside Street in East Hartford on Wednesday morning, which left thousands without power for part of the morning.

The driver was trapped when wires were knocked down in the area of Hillside Street, firefighters rescued the driver from the car and the vehicle has been cleared from the scene.

At first, slightly over 4,000 in East Hartford didn't have power and that number dropped to 2,164 by 6:07 a.m., according to Eversource. As of 6:24 a.m., that number was down to two households. Police believe the outages are related to the crash, but that is unknown at this time.

There is no word on injuries or the driver's condition.

Hillside Street was closed temporarily, but has since been reopened.

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Motorcyclist Seriously Injured in Crash


A motorcyclist was hospitalized with serious injuries after a crash in Bristol on Tuesday night.

Jose Burgos, 26, of Kensington, was driving a 2006 Suzuki GSXR600 when he failed to stop at a stop sign at North Main and Curtiss streets, continued into the intersection and collided with a guardrail, police said. The serious accident happened at 7:36 p.m. on Tuesday.

Burgos suffered from head and back injuries and Bristol EMS transported him to a Hartford hospital, according to police.

He was wearing a helmet when the crash happened and no other vehicles were involved, police said.

The crash remains under investigation.

Police ask anyone with information to contact the Bristol Police Department Traffic Division at 860-584-3030.

Murdered Man's Family to Sue Ex-NFL Star Aaron Hernandez


The family of Odin Lloyd plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez in the wake of last week's murder conviction. 

Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of Lloyd, a semi-professional football player.

Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward, and her attorneys will talk about the new lawsuit that's expected to be filed against Hernandez at a noon news conference in Boston Wednesday.

It’s not the first time the Lloyd family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. A suit filed in 2013 was put on hold while Hernandez was on trial.

The original filing stated unspecified damages that could exceed the value of Hernandez’s $1.25 million home.

The Lloyd family also wanted a court order to keep the Patriots from paying Hernandez more than $3 million they believe he’s owed from his contract at the time.

Photo Credit: necn

Hookah Bar Domestic Incident Hospitalizes 2


Two people are in the hospital, including one with life-threatening injuries, after a domestic incident at 1001 Arabian Nights Hookah Lounge in West Hartford that left two with some sort of cuts.

Police started investigating after getting a call from the bar at 134 Park Road at 3:17 a.m.

The business was closed when police arrived and the door was locked, so they forced their way into the building and found a man on the floor with what appeared to be stab wounds.

They also found a woman outside. Both were taken to the hospital with what officers describe as "cutting injuries."

The man has serious injuries and was rushed into surgery. Police are waiting to interview him.

Police said there might be more than one crime scene location. They are investigating outside of the hookah lounge, which is cordoned off with police tape.

"From here we’re getting search warrants to go in and collect any evidence that may be inside. We obviously have officers at the hospital monitoring the progress of the medical treatment for the victims and try to determine what happened," West Hartford Police Capt. Donald Melanson said.

Police have not released the names of the two injured people and said they are not looking for a suspect.

A neighbor told NBC Connecticut that she heard sirens around 3:30 a.m., saw ambulances rushing down the street and drove over to see what was going on.

At least eight West Hartford police cars were at the scene.

Park Road was closed between Beverly and South Highland Street as police investigated, but it has since reopened.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Suspected Drug Dealer Rams Police Car


A man who police observed making drug deals in the Liberty Avenue and South Street area of Danbury struck an unmarked police car on Interstate 84 in Brookfield/Danbury while fleeing from police pursuing him in a drug investigation on Tuesday. He is now facing multiple drug charges.

Police had the area under surveillance Tuesday and particularly focused on a gas station nearby where there had been drug trafficking activity in the past, police said.

That's when they saw Erick Ortiz-Aguayo make multiple drug transactions, police said. Investigators followed him in his car to pull him over and he ignored patrol car flashing lights signaling for him to stop, police said.

He only stopped on the Brookfield/Newtown line on Interstate 84 east when he rammed an unmarked police car, disabling his vehicle, police said.

Police took him into custody without an issue and discovered he had illegal drugs in his possession, as well as "remnants of destroyed evidence," Danbury police said.

Ortiz-Aguayo was charged with possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with intent to sell, tampering with evidence, engaging in pursuit, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and failure to obey a control signal.

Police held him in custody in lieu of a $150,000 bond.

Photo Credit: Danbury Police Department

Child Injures Ankle Darting Into Traffic


A 12-year-old Berlin boy was taken to Hartford Hospital to be treated for an ankle injury after running into the side of a car that police said swerved to avoid hitting him.

The boy ran from his Spruce Brook Road home and into traffic instead of getting into a van that arrived to bring him to school, police said.

An oncoming car swerved to avoid the boy and crossed the center lane, but the boy ran into the back of it, suffering a lower leg injury, police said.

Police said no charges are pending against the driver.

Berlin Schools Superintendent David Erwin said the child was being taken to a school outside of the Berlin public school system and student pickups are contracted to an outside company.

There is no plan for the van driver to receive additional training or disciplinary action because it doesn't look like there's anything the driver could have done to prevent what happened, Erwin said.

The school system is concerned about the child, but Erwin said it looks like his injury was minor.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Case Continued for Sub Accused of Threatening to "Shoot Up" Classroom


A substitute teacher accused of threatening to "shoot up" a seventh-grade classroom at Putnam Middle School is due back in court later this month after her case was continued on Wednesday.

The attorney for 46-year-old Andrea Husson, of Putnam, was in court for an appearance on Wednesday, when the case was continued .

Board of Education Chairman Michael Morrill said school administrators dealt with the incident "very swiftly" and removed the substitute teacher from school.

Husson was charged with second-degree breach of  peace and released on a $1,500 non-surety bond after the arrest. She is due back ion court on April 29.

Photo Credit: Putnam Police

Activist Swims NYC Superfund Site


An environmental activist swam part of the highly polluted Gowanus Canal for Earth Day, covered from head to toe in protective gear that shielded his skin, mouth, eyes and ears from the notorious toxic muck in the federal Superfund site.

Christopher Swain, 47, plunged into the water near Degraw street shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday and swam just under a mile -- spending about 20 minutes in the contaminated water -- before NYPD officers asked him to cut the dip short due to approaching thunderstorms. He said he was doing the swim to call attention to the federal government's slow-moving cleaning efforts.

"If we can land a man on the moon we can clean up the Gowanus Canal," Swain said.

Swain had planned to swim the length of the 1.8-mile canal and said he'd be back to finish the job.

"You can't clean up the canal in a day and I guess I can't swim it in a day," he said, adding he'd work with the city to find an appropriate, safe time to do the swim.

About 100 people lined up on several of the eight bridges the canal runs under to cheer Swain on as he swam, monitored by a woman in a kayak paddling a few feet away. Some of his fans shouted sarcastic commentary, wondering why he would take such a risk, but cheered him on all the same.

The 19th-century waterway was once a major transportation route; factories and fuel refineries operated there for years. It's now so polluted with industrial and sewer discharges that it must, by law, be cleaned up. The federal Environmental Protection Agency says contaminates include PCBs, which were banned in the U.S. in 1979. The regional EPA tweeted a warning against swimming in the canal, which runs through a narrow industrial zone near some of Brooklyn's wealthiest neighborhoods, a day before Swain took his dip.

Swain's dip was delayed a bit by NYPD security concerns and he almost didn't get into the water at all. Police said there's nothing illegal about swimming in the canal, although it's ill-advised, but anyone who does so risks contaminating other people when he or she gets out and needs to be thoroughly disinfected.

Swain was gargling hydrogen peroxide in his mouth as he approached reporters after the swim and assured everyone he was fine; police didn't give him trouble and Swain planned to take a bleach wash later Wednesday.

A dolphin that became stranded in the canal two years ago died after getting stuck, although biologists say it was likely due to the Dolphin’s age and declining health. 

Photo Credit: AP
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Police, Feds Catch Fugitive in New Milford


Police and federal agents have captured a fugitive in the Gaylordsville community of Milford.

Jeremiah Clement was arrested on federal drug trafficking and drug trafficking conspiracy charges at a home on Kent Road in Gaylordsville.

K-9 units, federal agents and New Milford Police apprehended Clement, according to a spokesperson with Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Investigators also checked a home on Park Lane Road.

Clement will make his first appearance before a Hartford judge Wednesday evening.

2 Charged With Burglary in Shelton


Shelton police arrested two men after linking several reports of a suspicious vehicle in the area of Waverly and Sorghum roads and a burglary at a home, police said.

On Tuesday, police received several calls about car in the Shelton neighborhood on Tuesday and two men knocking on doors, so they investigated but the car fled.

When police again responded, they found the car behind a home on September Lane in Shelton, police said, but the people had fled.

The suspects, identified as Emanuel Ranger, 23, and Allen Young, 20, were found in a backyard on Nichols Avenue and took them into custody, police said.

Ranger owns the car residents reported and was driving it without registration or insurance, police said. He also has a suspended license.

He was charged with engaging police in a pursuit and interfering with an officer.

Young was detained during the investigation.

When Trumbull police K9 tracked in the area where the suspicious car was reported, they learned that a home had been burglarized.

Police said Ranger and Young were charged with burglary charges and Young had jewelry and a watch stolen from the home on him, as well as a black mask.

Ranger and Young were charged with third-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary, fourth-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit fourth-degree larceny, third-degree criminal mischief and conspiracy to commit third-degree criminal mischief in connection to that burglary.

Police held Young on a $100,000 bond and Ranger was held on a $75,000 bond. Both suspects are scheduled to appear in Derby Superior Court on April 22.

Photo Credit: Shelton Police

State Police Caution Residents to Lock Up Valuables After String of Thefts


State police are cautioning residents to store their valuables in locked places after a surge in overnight thefts during the past month in Mansfield, Ashford, Stafford, Thompson and Killingly involving all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and four-wheelers.

Break-ins have occurred in garages, sheds and barns and the burglars stole items from those locations, state police said. In some cases, the burglars forced their way into the units.

State police believe Honda dirt bikes, Honda four wheelers and Suzuki four-wheelers, most recently red and yellow models, are tied to the thefts.

State police ask anyone with information or who notices suspicious behavior to call Trooper Tyler Weerden at the Troop C barracks in Tolland at 860-896-3200.

The investigation is ongoing.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Teen Fell Three Stories: Police


Police are investigating after a 15-year-old boy fell from a third-floor balcony in Middletown on Monday night.

Police responded to 70 Ferry Street in Middletown at 8:30 p.m. on April 20 after receiving reports of a fall victim, police said.

A teen who fell three stories was transported to Hartford Hospital to be treated of non-life-threatening injuries.

The incident remains under investigation so police can determine the "facts and circumstances surrounding the fall," police said.

Seven Ways to Fake Being a Racing Expert


You're not a horse racing expert, but you can act like one for the Kentucky Derby.

Amid all the hats, the mint juleps and the gambling, the real focus May 2 will be on the potential for something historic, as a narrowing field of elite young racehorses aims for the first Triple Crown victory in 37 years.

Don't know the first thing about horse racing? It doesn't matter. These seven tricks will help you get in on the spectacle as though you do.

1. Learn the lingo, and use it liberally.

You'll actually get to know something about racing later. For now, just pepper your comments with some jargon.

Before the race, check out race handicappers' predictions, check the tote board for the odds and watch the horses head from the paddock to their posts. Once the race begins, listen to the call, or the horses' running positions — but don't expect to have the foggiest idea what the caller is saying. (Don't worry, the race will only take a few minutes.)

A horse that's a closer runs his best later in a race, a stayer or router is good at running distances and a front-runner runs best at the head of the field. A horse is pinched back if it's held in close quarters, and if it's boxed in it's shut off or pocketed.

Horses' distances from each other in the stretch, or the last straight section of track, are measured by a head, e.g., the length of a horse's head. At the finish line, a photo finish is so close the finish-line camera has to figure out who won, and a dead heat is an exact tie. A horse finishes on the board if he's one of the first four to finish.

2. Know what's at stake, and tell everybody else.

You probably already know that only 11 horses have ever pulled off the feat of winning all three legs of the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. The last to manage it was Affirmed, back in 1978.

You might also know that since 1978, 11 have won the the first two legs only to flame out at Belmont. That was the case last year, when California Chrome fell short in the 1.5-mile, tough-to-handicap race that's often called the "Test of the Champion," with good reason.

There's plenty that can go wrong for a would-be Triple Crown winner: A great horse can get pocketed or pinched back, especially in the Derby's and the Preakness' crowded fields.

Or, in the Belmont, it can be overcome by better-rested rivals that ran in Louisville, then skipped the Preakness. Other horses have had their hopes dashed by jockey error at Belmont, where jockeys' tactics play a bigger role and riders may be tempted to accelerate too early in the comparatively long race.

3. Handicap the race yourself. (Remember that term?)

You can't feign some authority on horse racing without concocting a fervently held opinion on which horse will win.

Which horse has home-track advantage? What's its breeding like — geared for speed, or distance, or something else? What sort of races has it been running lately? Has it had any injuries? Who trains it?

The field for the Kentucky Derby is still shaping up. But more than a week out from the race, American Pharoah looks like a probable favorite, and Dortmund remains undefeated.

4. Bet on it.

Nothing screams "I know what I'm doing!" like advising your friends on how to spend their money, right? Right — well, as long as your friends aren't big gamblers. In that case, pay close attention.

Use Colin Bertram's primer to get a handle on what horses' odds mean and what they don't. Remember, a horse's odds reflect not how likely it is to win but how heavily other people are betting or expected to bet on it to win.

Once you've picked your favorites from the field of contenders and decided what kind of bet you want to make, examine the morning-line odds, which predict what people will probably bet on each horse. (The odds will change once betting actually has begun.)

The first number tells you how much profit your bet will get you should you win, and the second tells you how much you must bet to get it. If the horse you pick has 3-5 odds at the time of writing, that means you have to bet $5 in order to win $3 profit, so if you bet $10 and your horse wins, you'll get back $16.

5. Trot down Memory Lane.

Recall those halcyon days of horse racing — you know, when the only other sports worth their salt were baseball and boxing, and when your parents hadn't even met yet.

The mechanics of horse racing have changed plenty over the decades. Wealthy dynastic families ruled breeding, not commercial breeders, and as a result, horses were bred for stamina. Today, they're bred for speed.

But most fundamentally, horse racing doesn't have nearly the fan base it did in its heyday, back before pro football, pro basketball, casinos and, well, the internet horned in on its popularity. At racing's zenith, the track was the automatic mecca for gamblers.

6. Honor the greats.

Now you get to the really fun part of exercising your newfound authority: Breathlessly regaling your friends with tales of great races of yore as though you were there.

Bloviate about Secretariat's astounding 1973 Triple Crown, which he won by an unheard-of margin of 31 lengths. As the victor crossed the finish, the runner-up couldn't even fit on the television screen.

Wonder what would have happened if Man o' War, ranked the 20th century's best by Blood-Horse magazine and The Associated Press, had ever run for the Triple Crown. It wasn't around yet when Man o' War raced in the early 20th century, though he did sire some Triple Crown horses.

Reminisce about Kelso, who ran in the early '60s until he was 9 years old. Now all the Belmont contenders are 3-year-olds, and most horses are retired soon after that age to stud duty, which is far more lucrative than racing. (That was impossible for Kelso, who was a gelding, or castrated horse.)

Wax poetic about legendary filly Ruffian — even Secretariat's trainer said she might be better than his most famous horse — whose career was cut tragically short by a broken leg at Belmont in 1975. (You can still pay your respects at her grave at Belmont.)

7. Get ambitious.

If you really want to boost your expert cred, do your homework, and stake out a controversial stance or two. Read up, and weigh in, on hot-button topics like horse breeding habits, nasal strips and the sport's undeniable decline in recent decades, and what could reverse it.

Steve Coburn, the co-owner of last year's Triple Crown contender California Chrome, has grumbled that the growing numbers of Derby contenders that sit out the Preakness before returning for the Belmont have made Triple Crown wins all but impossible. He wants the rules tweaked so that only colts that run the Preakness can compete at Belmont.

He said last year that if his horse didn't win the Triple Crown — which it didn't — he doubted he'd ever see another winner. "There are people out there trying to upset the apple cart," he said. "They don't want a Triple Crown winner. They want a paycheck."

Indeed, the decades-long Triple Crown drought, and the sport's waning popularity, have encouraged talk of tinkering with the format and timing of the three key races, and not just among figures who have, quite literally, a horse in the race. Weigh in on what you think should be done, too.

But don't limit your expressions of your newfound expertise to such existential hand-wringing.

Try picking an underdog to root for Saturday. When you place your bet, try a superfecta, naming the top four horses in the order you expect them to place.

And whatever other stories you tell your friends, make sure to leave room for one still in the making: the first time you bluffed your way through the Triple Crown.

Just wait until the next big race to tell it. By then, you might actually be an expert.


This story has been updated from an earlier version.

Photo Credit: AP

Coach Kevin Ollie Says He Has No Plans to Leave UConn


For the second consecutive offseason, UConn coach Kevin Ollie has been mentioned as a possible NBA coaching candidate. And for the second consecutive offseason, Ollie had to reiterated that his allegiances lie in Storrs, with the Huskies basketball program.

“As I have said many times, I am proud and honored to be the head basketball coach at the University of Connecticut and I have no plans to pursue other opportunities," Ollie said on Wednesday in a statement released by the university.

"We are already excited about next season and I am looking forward to preparing our team to be the best we can be on the court, in the classroom, and in our community.”

Last week, Yahoo.com reported that Ollie could be a candidate for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder job should the team decide to part ways with incumbent Scott Brooks. On Monday, SNY.com's Adam Zagoria wrote that, according to sources, Ollie was being “seriously considered” for the Thunder job. 

Ten months ago we heard similar rumors, and Ollie issued a statement to assuage concerns about his coaching plans.

"I want to be here at UConn," he said at the time.

"I don't know about the future," he admitted. "The only thing I can do is take care of today. I got a five-year contract, and I believe I'm going to be here all five years. That's my motto, that's where I want to be at. I want to be here with my family. I want to see my daughter graduate high school here in Connecticut. And whatever happens is going to happen. There's going to be speculation ever year, but the kids know that I have their back, their best interest in mind."

A month before Ollie made those comments, UConn signed him to a new five-year, $15 million contract, which made him the highest-paid coach in the American Athletic Conference.

Suspected Christmas Day Arsonist is Homeowner


State police have arrested a man suspected of setting his own home on fire on Christmas Day.

Jeffrey B. Kowalec, 47, of Harwinton, is facing arson charges after a fire at 21 Lead Mine Brook Road in Harwinton where he lives. The fire broke out on the first floor of the house. No one was home when the fire happened and no one was injured.

State police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit detectives responded on Dec. 25, 2014 at 7:52 a.m. to help Harwinton firefighters investigate a suspicious structure fire at his home. They determined that the fire was set intentionally and state police identified Kowalec as the arsonist, state police said.

The house had smoke, fire and water damage after the fire, which made it uninhabitable, state police said.

State police charged Kowalec with second-degree arson. He is scheduled to appear in Bantam Superior Court. He was issued a $100,000 cash/surety bond.

Emotional Sendoff for Connecticut National Guard Troops


Husbands and wives, friends and family members exchanged hugs and kisses in Windsor Locks this morning as an aviation unit got ready to deploy for around a year.

Tears streamed down faces as the 1-169 General Support Aviation Battalion, a unit made up of 90 men and women, said goodbye to loved ones at a Windsor Locks Army support facility.

The troops will head first to Fort Hood in Texas for about 45 days of additional training, then they will fly to Kosovo where they will provide medical and general aviation support to those already stationed there.

For those leaving little ones behind, the departure seemed particularly difficult.

Corrine Lapierre, the wife of one of the soldiers, has said goodbye before.

"Jeff and I were dating then, but now we have a home and a family, so it's different than it was then," she said. 

This is the third time in six weeks that a United States National Guard unit from Connecticut is being deployed.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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New Britain Police Make Headway in Cold Case Search


For more than a year, police have been waiting for an FBI search dog to go through a wooded area in New Britain where bodies have been found, as detectives try to close three unsolved murder cases.

Yesterday and early today the dog found something, marked with orange tags in the area behind a strip mall between Route 9 and Hartford Road. What the dog came up with, New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell would not reveal.

"We are plotting and searching the entire area, utilizing all the resources we have and all of the specialists," Wardwell said. "As time moves on, so does our technical ability to locate the evidence we’re looking for."

He said police have worked through the area every year since a hunter found a skull in 2007. Since then, they have identified the bodies of Joyvaline Martinez, Diane Cusack and Mary Jane Menard.

"Anyone that has information relating to the human remains we recovered in 2007, they're encouraged to call the New Britain Police Department," Wardwell said.

Dectectives don't know yet who killed the women, but the Greater New Britain Serial Killer Task Force continues its painstaking efforts.

Wardwell said police will comb through the area again tomorrow.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

2 Hospitalized After Plane Makes Emergency Landing


Two people were transported to local hospitals after a Delta flight made an emergency landing in Boston due to inclement weather Wednesday night, the airline confirms.

Some passengers on Delta flight 271 reported nausea and possible injuries due to turbulence while approaching New York, causing the plane to make the unscheduled landing. According to Boston EMS, one person was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital with minor injuries. Another is being transported to the same hospital for treatment of motion sickness. 

The aircraft, which departed from Paris and was set to land at Newark Liberty International Airport, is expected to re-depart for New York shortly. A total of 191 people are on board.

According to Massport, Massport Fire and Boston EMS are on stand-by at Logan in case any additional passengers need to be evaluated.  


Waterbury's Timexpo Museum to Close


The Timexpo Museum in Waterbury will close its doors in September.

The announcement came from the TimexGroup, the parent company of Timex and the corporation that operates the musuem.

"The company has cited that low attendance is the chief cause," said Ryan Roth, TimexGroup's deputy general counsel.

The Timexpo opened in 2001 as a musuem that showcased the connections between Waterbury and the earliest iterations of the company now known as Timex.

Attendance at the museum hovered around 8,000 in 2014, according to Timex.

Roth said the closure of the museum does not indicate any future plans for the company in Connecticut.

"Timex has a long history with Connecticut, with the greater Waterbury community. We are a Connecticut company. We’re proud to be a Connecticut company and we’re going to continue to donate employees’ time and company funds towards initiatives to that end," he said.

The museum has four employees.

The collection of clocks, watches and other timepieces could end up at the nearby Mattatuck Museum. Museum director Bob Burns said he has had a conversation with Timex regarding relocating all or part of the collection to the Waterbury-based museum.

"We initiated the conversation. The Timex story needs to be told. We would love to tell the entire story. We are the history museum for the region and we think some of the collection would make wonderful additions to our museum," Burns said.

Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary said he was given advance notice that the museum had hit some hard times.

"We kind of had a feeling it was coming," O'Leary said. "They told us that they were unsure whether they’d be able to continue after this calendar year."

He added that he understood the rationale behind the decision to shutter the doors and windows of the museum.

"At the end of the day we get it, it’s a business decision. It’s one they had to make and so it opens up that building. Now we’ve got that beautiful 14,000 square foot, so hopefully we can bring somebody in to contribute to our taxpayer base," he said.

Exit 24 off I-84 to Close as Part of Waterbury Widening Project


As widening gets underway on Interstate 84 in Waterbury, transportation crews are closing off exit 24 for Harpers Ferry Road.

The exit will close at 11 p.m. Wednesday. The closure is a key part of the widening of I-84 in both directions between Waterbury and Cheshire which broke ground earlier this month.

"As with anything especially construction projects and change, I haven’t heard any positive feedback from closing exit 24," said Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary.

Even though the Democrat and former police chief has heard mainly from critics, he said many people are looking forward to the redesigned highway once the construction is complete in five years.

"It’s going to inconvenience people who are used to getting off at exit 24 in that section of our city. At the end of the day it’s just another inconvenience that’s just another part of the construction project, but the overall picture paints such a good one for the city, it’s worth the inconvenience," he said.

Jean Henry, who commutes each day from Watertown, described her drive as a disaster that should take 20 minutes but inevitably takes 40. She said she hopes businesses aren't adversely affected by the new congestion that will come with road construction.

"I think ultimately it will help them, but in the short run, you may see people try to avoid the area because of it. Hopefully that won’t be the case and it will be planned out well," she said.

Tony's Auto Sales is one business along I-84 that has seen positives changes from the construction. Business manager Eddie Zalali said the amount of traffic in front of the store has picked up as construction crews have arrived.

"It actually means a lot more exposure for us. We used to see more traffic in the PM, but now it’s constant all day," he explained.

Zalali said the construction of a retaining wall along the highway has prompted him and the owner to consider new signage that would face I-84.

"It’s not pretty and you’ve got the machines on the other end of the lot there but I guess we just got to go with it I guess, for the next five years," he said.

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