SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s not just drivers bracing for longer commutes, detours and traffic when roadwork begins on the elevated portion of I-91. It’s communities too.
“We’re all going to suffer a little bit, but we’ll get through it,” said Agawam Mayor Richard Cohen. He told 22News he’s been meeting with MassDOT, police and fire about an increase in traffic through the City. “I think we’re going to see Route 57, Suffield Street Route 75, Main Street, RIver Road, all being utilized in a greater capacity,” he added.
MassDOT Spokesman Michael Verseckes said work will begin Sunday July 12, but only during the overnight hours. Crews will first prepare the outside lanes of the viaduct deck to accommodate traffic when the inside lanes are replaced.
Longmeadow residents told 22News they’re preparing for longer drive times here along Route 5 in the heart of the town. They said this could be a popular alternative for drivers from I-91. But as some drivers plan for the next three years of construction, they’re finding possible detours may take just as long as waiting in traffic on I-91.
“I’ll probably go through the traffic, or I’d swing over through the X and go down through the back roads, go that way if I need to get downtown or whatnot,” Linwood Potter of Longmeadow.
Monday, drivers were reminded why the viaduct deck needs this major reconstruction when a pothole opened up during their morning commute. The project is expected to be complete by September of 2018.
The contractor will be awarded money for each day the project is completed ahead of schedule, and penalized for each day it’s late.