BLANDFORD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s neither easy nor quick to drive to towns like Blandford. You only have two options for exits, and they’re 30-miles apart, but there may be a way to change that.
There are 65-acres of land located right behind the Blandford Service Plaza, and right next to the MassPike. Many residents want to see it turned into an exit off I-90 to Blandford.
Blandford resident Linda Smith told 22News she was hoping the state’s new electronic tolling system would make it possible. “I wonder if we can now get a residents’ gate like they have on the Jersey Turnpike and places like that where we can just hop on,” she said.
State Representative Smitty Pignatelli told 22News it’s a possibility. Electronic tolling is expected to save the state millions on infrastructure. “They just want access. Blandford’s in the middle of nowhere, where you actually have to drive to Westfield to get on the Turnpike, or drive all the way to the Berkshires and get on Exit 2 in Lee. I think a slip ramp idea could provide some real good opportunities for those communities,” he said.
Noreen Suriner of Middlefield said something needs to be done soon. “We are dropping in population, yet we have the most beautiful place to live. If people had access to a major highway to get to work in reasonable time, it would be possible,” she said.
Representative Pignatelli said he’d like to bring the conversation up with MassDOT again, once the electronic tolling is up and running.