Route 214 was created on Jan. 2, 1963 from a set of town-maintained roads accepted into the state highway system. The transition from local road to signed state highway is actually pretty rare; most new signed designations are usually already state-maintained, at least in part, using non-signed "secret" designations. Route 214, however, was created from "thin air".
Another uncommon aspect of Route 214: though it was born at the same time as many other state highways recommended by the state Committee to Reclassify All Public Roads, it was not part of the committee's recommendations.
In the meantime, a few small improvements have been studied and made.
In October 1972, a candidate for state assembly pledged to secure improvement funds for routes 117 and 214 if elected. "We should be able to widen the roads by four to six feet without spending too great a sum of money," Kenneth Stober said.
In 1973, the state General Assembly called for a study of realigning and reconstructing the Stoddards Wharf Road section of Route 214, between Route 12 and Route 117. The conclusion: given the highway's local traffic service, and local opposition to major changes in the road, an upgrade to state highway standards (40-foot roadway, with 100-foot right of way) was not feasible. There was still a future need for a shorter realignment, between Route 12 and Avery Hill Road, but that would be at least a decade into the future.
In 1979, the Southeast Connecticut Regional Planning Agency discussed improving Route 214 between Route 12 and Route 117. One factor that hurt the road's funding priority: it exists entirely within Ledyard, so the benefits would be limited to a single town.
In the late 1990s, spot improvements were made to handle increased casino traffic, including a short 2-lane divided section near the casino, and left-turn lanes at Route 117. Brick pavers separate the left and thru-right lanes by about 24 inches: a decorative touch.
In 2003, more safety improvements were being considered, as traffic and accidents increase. This might include widening and straightening parts of Route 214.
Town to state: please let us take it over
In 1992, a Mashantucket Pequot bingo hall at the eastern end of Route 214 added table games. A year later, it introduced slot machines. The initial operating hours for Foxwoods were 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.; however, it stayed open the first night and has never closed. Foxwoods eventually became the largest casino in America (though reportedly has slipped to second place) and introduced drastic changes to the town of Ledyard.
In 1994, the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments proposed improving Route 214 to serve as an alternate route to Foxwoods. The town of Ledyard pushed back hard, and that proposal was dropped. The town's counteroffer: close the eastern end of Route 214 with a cul-de-sac; and turn maintenance over to the town.
The State Route Reclassification and Renumbering Committee, more accustomed to town requests for the state to take over road maintenance, studied the issue. Ledyard officials realized maintenance expenses would increase if Route 214 were turned over, but they believed the benefits would outweigh the cost. The Pequots, for their part, wanted to assume control of the portion of Route 214 passing through their land.
In 1996, the state denied the town's request, asserting that Route 214 was an important link between Route 12 and Route 2. Though town residents renewed their call for taking over the road a year later, Route 214 remains a state highway.
Tolls once proposed for casino traffic
In February 2003, a state representative from Greenwich introduced a bill to study assessing a $10 toll on each car exiting the Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods casinos. Route 214 would have a tollbooth, and there would probably be an exemption for local traffic.
At the time, the bill had very little support in the legislature. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin Sullivan remarked that such a law would be subject to litigation.