Patching up Interstate 91 in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- It took MassDOT crews about 11 hours to patch up a massive pothole on Interstate 91 overnight that was causing trouble for commuters Wednesday afternoon.

A massive pothole had opened up in the middle of the Southbound side of the highway near Exit 6.  Several drivers hit the hole and had to pull over with flat tires.

MassDOT Spokesman Mike Verseckes told 22News that crews started working on the pothole around 6 p.m. Wednesday and continued throughout the night. The cones that diverted traffic from the work zone were picked up around 5 a.m. Thursday when repairs were finished.

Verseckes said that it took longer than expected because when there is a void or depression on a roadway you have to cut back all the loose area to get to the more solid concrete, and there was a lot of that area to cut back.

The state Transportation Department had some repairs scheduled for later this week, but all the thunderstorms that moved through this area recently created a problem that led to lane closures and a major traffic back up, Verseckes said.

MassDOT has plans to upgrade the elevated portion of I-91 from the 291 interchange to State Street. Verseckes told 22News this pothole “reinforces the need” for that improvement.

Once that $230 million improvement project begins, 91 will be reduced to two lanes on each side.

An estimated 75,000 cars travel this section of I-91 every day, and to get the project done, exits and entrance ramps to the highway will periodically close. Detours will be set up in downtown Springfield, mostly on East and West Columbus Avenue.

Drivers should expect an additional 10 to 15 minutes to be tacked onto their commute when that time comes.

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