SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Interstate-91 from State Street in downtown Springfield to the Interstate-291 ramps continues to crumble with a major reconstruction project just months away.
On Friday, two northbound lanes were closed for hours. MassDOT crews ended up having to re-pour concrete to replace a 20 x 8 foot section of the bridge deck. MassDOT spokesman Mike Verseckes told 22News the concrete from a previous pothole patch was breaking apart.
“Usually when they do the repairs they come in and do a little patch work tap it down, they don’t do it properly. I understand time is a factor but It’s a hazard,” said Westfield’s Tim Wylie.
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The emergency repairs on Friday weren’t the first time and likely won’t be the last time MassDOT workers will be patching up the elevated section of I-91. MassDOT crews have had to fix major problems on this one mile stretch of highway four times in the last five months.
In February, MassDOT was forced to shut down the center lane after a giant pothole that was fixed in the morning opened up again in middle of the highway. Three weeks earlier, two lanes were shut down after portions of the elevated highway fell to the ground. In November, piieces of the decking crumbled falling onto Union Street.
During peak hours, on average, 4500 cars travel on I-91 through Springfield. “Just because of the magnitude of the traffic I’d consider it one of the worst, although all the roads in the area are in pretty sad shape,” said Southwick’s Tony Impoco.
Beginning this summer the entire bridge deck of the elevated portion of the highway will be replaced. A $260 million dollar price tag we’re paying for that will take at least two and a half years to complete.
During the construction expect to see the type of traffic backups we saw on Friday when two of the three Northbound lanes were closed. During the project, one lane will be closed in each direction.