Route 5 tunnel now open

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Friday commute was extra smooth for some people driving through West Springfield, after the Route 5 tunnel was finally re-opened following resurfacing work that took two months.

Cars had been forced off Route 5 and around the North End Bridge Rotary to rejoin the highway; a situation that caused heavy backups at times.

“It was just a mess. The rotary is bad enough without extra traffic. I just avoided it. I’m from town so I know all the routes,” Matthew Gilhooly of West Springfield said.

Traffic especially backed up during rush hour in the morning and evenings. Cars could sometimes be lined up for half a mile down Route 5, waiting to merge into the rotary by the North End Bridge.

The road was so damaged the tunnel was closed for an extra month. But drivers had a pleasant surprise Friday morning when they found it had reopened at midnight instead of midday as planned.

“It was annoying coming back and forth from work. Took longer, obviously. Made the day longer,” Mario Sotolotto of West Springfield said.  “It was brutal.”

“Right now, I’m just coming from the bank and I didn’t even realize the tunnel was open. It was kind of nice just zipping right through.”

MassDOT’s contractor SPS New England replaced the road surface, sealed and marked it, which took time to dry. The whole project cost about $800,000.

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