The Federal Railroad Administration has identified its "preferred alternative" for the location of the anticipated high-speed rail line to extend from Washington DC to Boston, Massachusetts. That alternative proposes location of the high speed rail line along the existing railroad right-of-way in Connecticut rather than heading north through Hartford and inland across Connecticut and Rhode Island to Boston.
In the southeastern area of the Connecticut shoreline the "preferred alternative" includes the construction of a third river crossing at the mouth of the Connecticut River between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme with the rail line then deviating north of Interstate 95 in order to bypass the majority of the winding, tight-curved shoreline right-of-way located between Old Saybrook and Kenyon, Rhode Island.
This plan, the FRA says, will allow for construction of modern rail beds with gentler curves that will allow higher rail speeds through southeastern Connecticut, higher speeds than the current system will allow. Federal, state, regional and local officials as well as many citizens have expressed great dismay at the historical, environmental and cultural destruction that would take place if the "preferred alternative" is followed as proposed. Of the hundreds of "comments" submitted to the FRA during the public hearing process, the majority came from Old Lyme residents and officials and included numerous communications discouraging this bypass from Connecticut's Congretional delegation, Governor Malloy and ConnDOT Commissioner Jim Redeker. Most say that Old Lyme's historic district along Lyme Street and cultural/historical institutions such as the Lyme Art Academy and the Florence Griswold Museum will be greatly impacted or destroyed altogether. This page is devoted to provide easy-to-access information and updates to what is and will continue to be a long, drawn out Federal initiative.
The entire Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement produced by the Federal Rail Administration can be found below. In addition, links are provided for the Table of Contents for this extensive document as well as links for summary documents and the two key maps of the lower CT River Valley showing the preferred route of the rail line from Old Saybrook east to the Rhode Island border.