SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The plan right now is to keep two lanes open in each direction, at all times, but on and off ramps will be closed in downtown Springfield.
From the 291 and 91 interchange to State Street in Springfield, the elevated portion of I-91 will get a major facelift, starting as early as November.
Springfield City Councilor Tim Allen said, “We’ve already got problems with having to close the garage because the highway isn’t above it…or not reliable shall we say…above it. So it’s critical that we fix this and have 91 that we can count on.”
The 91 rehabilitation project will replace the bridge decking and make structural repairs. A $230 million project, done in two stages. Both phases will require lane closures. Three travel lanes on each side will be reduced down to two.
Two travel lanes will remain open during the construction, but some on ramps will have to be closed. Drivers will be detoured to temporary ramps to access East and West Columbus Avenues.
The exit 6 and 7 on-ramps to I-91 North will be closed. You’ll stay on East Columbus Avenue up to the Route 20 on-ramp. To get on 291 from East Columbus Ave., you’ll be detoured toward Liberty Street.
Exits 6 and 7 will like wise be closed coming South. You’ll have to exit the highway *before* downtown Springfield, using a temporary off-ramp that will be built near Birnie Avenue.
MassDOT will install a temporary traffic signal there at Birnie Avenue to handle more cars.
District 2 Highway Manager Al Stagemann said, “We are going to have to do some improvements to both East and West Columbus Ave. before we allow them to take a lane off 91, so the traffic management plan needs to be in effect 100% before we take any lanes.”