HOK and WSP win $5bn Connecticut masterplanning role

HOK Group and WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff have been hired by the State of Connecticut to create a masterplan for a 100-acre expanse of western Hartford.

At the heart of the scheme is a project to replace a 3km-stretch of Interstate-84. This road was installed in the 1960s and has been blamed ever since for ripping apart the urban fabric of the town.

Altogether, the replacement of the I-84 is expected to cost between $3bn and $5bn. The work involves the area between Union Station to the corporate campus of The Hartford Financial Services Group.

Sean Fitzpatrick, the city’s director of development services, told the Hartford Courant: "Now, we have the opportunity created by new transportation connections to reconnect our cityscape and reimagine it for a new century."

The masterplan will aim to create a coherent quarter with the usual mix of uses, although the first concept drawings will not be shown until the end of the year. Construction is expected to begin in the early or mid-2020s.

The authorities’ plans for the redevelopment attracted attention last year when the Greater Hartford Transit District released renderings that made it appear that much of the area was to be dedicated to an immense carpark.

Fitzpatrick said: "We had not been engaged with the transit district when they came out with their plan."

According to the Courant, the state Department of Transportation favours replacing an ageing viaduct with a highway that is slightly below grade but not buried in a tunnel. The rail tracks below the highway will be relocated to the west, giving the opportunity for a broader vision for the redevelopment.

Other consultants on the programme management team include TranSystems, Fitzgerald & Halliday, Goody Clancy and DiCesare Associates. CDMSmith is congestion pricing adviser and Aecom is handling environmental documentation.

HOK teamed with WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff on the modernisation of Washington DC’s Union Station.

Hartford is the capital of Connecticut, with a population of about 130,000.

Image: One possible approach, as dreamed up by the Connecticut Department of Transportation

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