I-91 reconstruction project begins

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — The first stages of prep work in the I-91 reconstruction project in Springfield are set to begin Sunday night.

Crews will first prepare the outside lanes of the viaduct deck to accommodate traffic when inside lanes are replaced.

Repairs have become continuous, and as time goes on I-91 is becoming more and more difficult to repair.  The viaduct rehabilitation project will give this highway another 20-25 years of use.

Every single day, 75,000 cars and trucks travel along the patchwork of concrete that is Interstate 91 in Springfield. The highway is nearly half a century old, and the impending viaduct reconstruction project is about more than creating a smooth ride, there are safety issues with pieces of the roadway falling below. The temporary emergency repairs have become almost constant, and expensive.

MassDOT told 22news the emergency repairs from April 2014 to April of this year cost $363,000. As for the project itself; that’ll cost about $185 million in total. The Federal Highway Administration will pay for 80%, the remaining 20% from MassDOT. It has a nine million dollar incentive for every day you beat the clock, you get a 50k dollar reward toward a maximum of nine million. The contractor will also be penalized $50,000 a day if the project runs late.

Carlos Rivera told 22News, “Right now its really good but in the future I think its going to be real tough. Traffic everywhere I don’t know whats going to happen I believe its going to be a big mess.”

That work is set to begin Sunday night and will first be only done in the overnight hours, not during heavy commute times.The project is expected to be complete in 2018.

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