WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Traffic was heavily backed up on the eastbound side of the Massachusetts Turnpike, early Friday evening, after an expansion joint on the Connecticut River Bridge gave way.
According to State Police Sgt. David Douthwright, traffic was backed up six miles from the bridge, all the way back to mile marker 46 in Westfield, near Exit 4 and 5. He said that the expansion joint let go around 1:00 P.M., and SPS Construction was called in to fix it.
The Media Relations Department at MassDOT told 22News the work on fixing the joint finished around 4:45 P.M. The expansion joint had come out of place and could pop a tire if it hits it in a certain way. If the joint was left alone, it could have compromised the bridges durability, and so it was important to fix right away.
Drivers were glad the crews fixed it right away. Brad Rose of Belchertown said, “Right now we are going to suffer and have a lot of traffic but we are going to enjoy it this winter when we’re not ripping the wheels off our cars. I drive a high performance car so I’m glad to have good roads.”
The MassDOT has been working since 2012 to repair this bridge that connects Chicopee to West Springfield. An expansion joint allows structures like bridges to expand or contract when there’s extreme weather. The work that’s been going on is replacing the bridge deck. Expect to continue into mid 2015.