Route 5 tunnel repair on track in West Springfield

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The work on the Route 5 tunnel is on track to finish by the end of March. 22News has new information on the Mass. Department of Transportation’s progress.

A state contractor started working on the Route 5 tunnel last Monday. This tunnel takes you under the Route 20 rotary. It closed about three weeks ago, and it is expected to remain closed until the end of March.

The Department of Transportation shut down the tunnel to repair potholes. Workers will resurface the road, rather than just patching the potholes. They hope that will be a more permanent solution to all the potholes that have been causing problems this winter.

In the meantime, drivers have to take the detour, which is the Route 20 rotary. Some drivers told 22News now they just avoid this area altogether.

“I don’t go on Route 5 at all. Avoid it completely. It’s been a tough winter for the roads…so it better last a while,” said Steve Clark of West Springfield.

According to Karen Hibbard of West Springfield, “My aunt popped a tire going through that tunnel. I think it will be a lot of better because it will be a complete job instead of patching. So I think it will be a lot stronger.”

“You got in there and it was so dark; you were out in the sunshine, and you couldn’t see anything,” said Christine Hansen of Springfield. “It’s a minor inconvenience, and if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right.”

Workers will fix the southbound lanes first and then move onto the northbound lanes, but the tunnel will be closed in both directions throughout the whole process.

In West Springfield you can report potholes to the city’s pothole hotline, at 495-1891, ext. 1874.