• Length 1.93 miles
  • From US 1 in Stonington
  • To US 1 in Stonington

US 1a is the only surviving alternate US route in Connecticut; historically there were about twenty. Present-day US 1A is a southern loop of US 1 serving downtown Stonington. Until 1939, it was part of US 1 itself. It is signed east-west.

US 1A History

Stonington's US 1A

The original path of US 1 near downtown Stonington, from west to east, was similar to today's US 1A:

In 1939, a new, direct "Stonington Cutoff" opened, bypassing the three streets above. US 1 was rerouted along the cutoff, and US 1A was designated along the 2.21 miles of local roads.

In 1962, US 1A was made a bit shorter, routed along Alpha Avenue and Trumbull Avenue.

Other routes

In the late 1920s, the original US 1 connected a string of shoreline cities and towns by their centers. As more residents got behind the wheel, this led to traffic snarls in those areas.

In the 1930s, Connecticut's playbook to relieve US 1 traffic in several places was:

This all worked well except for the many motorists who avoided the "alternate" routes in favor of staying on US 1.

To fix this, in 1939, the state notified the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) of its intent to move US 1 to the bypass routes, and US 1A to the downtown routes. The quickest way along the shore would be to stay on US 1. For that reason, most of the historical instances of US 1A switched alignments with US 1 over the following year.

It does not appear that Connecticut designated any US Route 1A (or, in fact, any "A" routes) until 1932.

A listing of the several historical US 1A's in the state, from west to east:

Norwalk (1962 to 1963)

US 1 originally followed West Avenue, Wall Street and East Avenue across town. In 1962, US 1A was designated along Cross Street and North Avenue (probably a portion of Belden Street as well) to the north. In 1963, US 1 was moved there, replacing US 1A; and the streets along old US 1 were turned over to the city.

Darien (1953 to 1958)

A short freeway bypass of US 1 in Darien opened on Sept. 14, 1953; this is now part of I-95, from about exit 11 to exit 13. The 1.58-mile old section of US 1 along Post Road became US 1A. When the test of I-95 opened, US 1 was returned to Post Road.

Fairfield, Bridgeport and Stratford (1932 to 1963)

This 9.24-mile US 1A followed present-day US 1 (North St, Boston Rd, Barnum Ave) then Main St (part of today's Route 113) and E. Main St (part of today's Route 110), Stratford. In 1931, this route was proposed as US 1N instead of 1A; AASHO pushed back, saying that directional letter suffixes were deprecated and the "A for Alternate" suffix should be used instead.

In 1963, US 1 was moved north to replace US 1A. Much of the old US 1 became unsigned SR 770 and SR 771 -- and in 1992 became Route 130.

Milford (1932 to 1946)

The original route for US 1 through Milford included Bridgeport Avenue (now part of Route 162, Broad Street, River Street, and Cherry Street. Around 1932, a new "Milford Cutoff" road opened, skirting around Milford. This became US 1A in 1932.

In 1940, US 1 was moved to the cutoff (Boston Post Road, where it is now) and 2.39 miles of the old US 1 became US 1A. In 1946, US 1A in Milford was cancelled.

East Haven (1940 to 1943; 1958 to 1962)

2.02 miles of Main Street, between intersections with present-day US 1. When the four-lane Saltonstall Parkway opened in 1940, US 1 was moved from Main Street to the new highway. Main Street then became US 1A. It appears to have been cancelled in 1943, but reinstated in 1958, and cancelled again in 1962.

Branford (c. 1934 to 1962 or 1963)

West Main St, Main St, and East Main St; created about 1934; there are two deletion dates shown: July 23, 1962 and Mar. 29, 1963.

Old Saybrook (1940 to 1963)

US 1 used to follow Old Boston Post Road into Old Saybrook. In the 1930s, a new diagonal "cutoff" road opened, which is today's Boston Post Road between Old Boston Post Road and Main Street. This was originally designated US 1A, but in 1940, they were swapped, so that US 1A followed 1.43 miles of old US 1.

In 1963, the state turned Old Post Road (US 1A) over to the town, while officials complained that the road (along with Route 154A and Route 166 were in bad condition. The state agreed to repave the road and fix drainage issues before turning it over.

East Lyme, Waterford and New London (1943 to 1976)

In 1943, the old Gold Star Bridge opened, along with a new highway approach leading from where I-95 and US 1 meet in East Lyme today, east of Route 161. The former 7.5 miles of US 1 (Post Road, Bank Street, Truman Street, and Huntington Street) became US 1A.

When the US 1 freeway from Old Lyme to East Lyme opened in 1949, US 1A was extended westward along old US 1 to where I-95 exit 70 is today, for a total length of 14.05 miles. (However, some state maps show this section as not being state-maintained.)

When I-95 opened in 1958, it overlapped US 1 from East Lyme into New London and across the bridge.

In 1962, the portion of US 1A west of I-95 in East Lyme was renumbered to Route 51.

In 1971, the state petitioned AASHO to remove US 1 from the overlap and reroute it along US 1A and Route 213. This took a few years to get approved, as there were some substandard segments of road along US 1A. In 1976, however, the state was able to relocate US 1. The US 1A designation was cancelled; most of it became US 1, and the segment east of Route 213 became SR 641. To the west, Route 51 also became part of US 1, which had largely returned to its original route.

Groton 1 (1936 to 1940)

The new "Groton Cutoff" in 1936 is today's Long Hill Road (part of US 1). The contemporary US 1 followed Thames Street, Poquonnock Road, Tower Avenue and Runway Lane through Groton. Long Hill Road was the bypass route, US 1A for a few years, that became part of US 1 in 1940..

Groton 2 (c. 1961 to 1963)

A section of Bridge Street leading eastward from today's I-95 exit 85 to US 1.

On paper only

The Merritt Parkway had a planning number of US Route 1A, though it was never signed that way. (It was also briefly designated State Road 999 -- also unsigned -- before becoming part of Route 15 in 1948.)

US 1A was also considered for CT 184 and RI 3, as a compromise for Connecticut's proposal to reroute US 1 there. However, that was not followed through.

There's no official record (so far) of a US 1A in Stamford, but a November 1955 Hartford Courant article refers to Richmond Hill Avenue across the Rippowam River as "Route 1A". This might have been a temporary designation as a result of the 1955 floods that destroyed many bridges statewide.

Some New York maps showed US 1A entering Greenwich across the state line via Putnam Ave./Hillside Ave. in 1951. There is no record so far of this designation in Connecticut.

US 1A Sources