I-91 slowdown a preview of what’s to come

$230M three-year construction project will fix elevated highway viaduct

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Thousands of cars and trucks were stuck in some seriously slow traffic on I-91 North for hours Friday night, and it may be a preview of what’s to come.

Drivers inched along the elevated portion of I-91 northbound Friday night, often slowing to a stop. The left and center lanes were closed for emergency repairs, squeezing northbound vehicles to one lane, backing up traffic for miles.

It was the kind of stop-and-go traffic that you can expect starting this summer when the I-91 viaduct project begins. A $230-million renovation will fix the patchwork of potholes and rough road on the elevated portion of the highway, known as “the viaduct”.

Friday night’s delays may be just a taste of what drivers will deal with during the 3 years it takes to complete the project.

Some drivers are already planning ways to get around the construction.

Mark Oberhand of Fairfield, Conn. said, “I’m certainly going to take a close look at some maps and see what I can do to get around it because it was pretty rough up there.”

One driver told 22News she dreads her daily drive to Northampton while all the construction is going on. Sharon Francis of Springfield said, “I’m going to have to budget at least an hour, an hour and a half at least; hopefully that’s enough. I don’t want to have to spend 2 or 3 hours in traffic trying to get from point A to point B.”

Drivers said it felt like hours waiting to get around one piece of construction Friday night.

80 percent of the I-91 viaduct project is funded by federal money and 20 percent by the state.

The state Department of Transportation suggests you start looking and preparing for alternate routes now.

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