New barriers begin next stage of I-91 reconstruction

Drivers are seeing delays of 15-20 minutes

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s the second day that drivers encountered a road block trying to get onto Interstate 91 in Springfield’s North End.

More barriers have been put up and more crews were out working on the section of Birnie Avenue that will be closed until early this winter. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation shut down the I-91 on-ramp from Birnie Avenue just north of Exit 8 on Tuesday.

Wednesday, there were more jersey barriers in the roadway, to protect crews that were out surveying and beginning work to create a temporary off-ramp.  That ramp will give drivers access to downtown Springfield during the next phase of construction on the elevated portion of Interstate 91, starting this winter.

Some drivers say they are already seeing 15 to 20 minutes added to their commute without being able to access I-91 South from Birnie Avenue. Heriberto Rodriguez of Springfield told 22News, “I usually get on the highway right here, the on ramp, so I have to go onto Plainfield Street now and go all the way around. And it’s not only me, but everybody else so it makes it harder.”

Two of the three posted detours around the closed road lead drivers onto Main Street in Springfield, boosting traffic downtown.

Detour to use to get between Birnie Avenue and Downtown Springfield.
Detour to use to get between Birnie Avenue and Downtown Springfield.Take Arch Street to Main Street, then Main Street to Liberty Street and East Columbus Avenue. Then take Emery Street to West Columbus Ave. and continue onto East Columbus Ave. Then turn right on Boland Way, and back onto West Columbus Avenue.
Detour from Birnie Avenue to I-291 eastbound.
Detour from Birnie Avenue to I-291 eastbound. To I- 291 from Birnie Ave.: Turn left onto Arch Street, then take Main Street to Liberty Street. From there, you can turn left onto Chestnut Street, where you’ll then be able to access the ramp.
Detour from Birnie Avenue to I-91 southbound
Detour from Birnie Avenue to I-91 southbound. Go north on Birnie Ave. and turn onto Wason Ave. Then take Main Street to Center Street in Chicopee, and get onto the ramp to I-391 southbound. I-391 then merges into I-91 southbound.

Remember to stay with 22News and WWLP.com for the latest updates on traffic changes, due to the I-91 reconstruction project.

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