Sunday, May 25, 2003
Sunday Spotlight: 50th Anniversary of Westports Gov. Lodge Okaying I-95
TodayҒs The Advocate of Stamford notes that this week marks the 50th anniversary of Westports Gov. John Davis Lodge signing authorization for construction of a new Connecticut highway from the New York border to Rhode Island.
It’s now widely called I-95, but formally it’s The Gov. John Davis Lodge Turnpike.
Lodge’s signature on the bill literally changed the landscape of the state, displacing thousands in the name of progress and eventually costing Lodge his political career.
“He paid the ultimate political price because the highway went right through Republican Fairfield County,” Westporter Michael Rea told the newspaper.
“He was alienating many of his own supporters, but he would always say, ‘I am the governor of Connecticut, not of Fairfield County,Ҕ said Rea, a member of Westports Representative Town Meeting.
Rea and his wife Carla knew the Lodges well.
Although his name is rarely used in association with the turnpike, it will always be his legacy—a fact that Carla Rea says he would be proud of.
“He wanted it to be named after him more than anything else,” Carla Rea told The Advocate.
“He wanted to see it while he was alive, but he died knowing that it would be named for him,” said the Westport Realtor who was close friends with Lodge and his wife, Francesca.
Lodge died on Oct. 29, 1985, at the age of 82 in New York City while still living in Westport. The highway was renamed in his honor on Oct. 1, 1986.
Carla Rea said Lodge had a “great sense for the future” and knew that the state could not go on without the turnpike. However, he also knew his support of the highway would exact a heavy political price.