SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Drivers have been dealing with lane and ramp closures due to the I-91 reconstruction project for more than a year. Phase 1 of this project is almost finished, but there is still a long way to go.
Phase 2 is expected to begin this winter and continue through spring 2018. The change in phases will also cause changes in traffic patterns on I-91.
22News spoke with MassDOT about the changes at a meeting Thursday night in Springfield. They said traffic patterns are expected to change as early as next month.
During Phase 2, the inner lanes of the highway will reopen, and the outer lanes will close. Drivers will shift to the center lanes, where crews just rebuilt the bridge deck during Phase 1. Crews will then be able to start rebuilding the outer lanes of the highway, along the on-ramp to I-291 East.
MassDOT said drivers will still have access to I-291 from the highway, but there could be some overnight closures. Exits 6 and 7 will remain closed until the end of the year. Crews will also shut down the Exit 9 off-ramp from 91 North to Route 20.
MassDOT also told 22News their snow removal plan won’t change just because of the construction. They said they will try to plow as much as they can, and their plows can also push the snow over barriers.
Once Phase 2 is finished, crews will reopen all of the lanes of the highway, and remove the temporary exits, including the off-ramp on Birnie Avenue, and the West Columbus Ave. extension.
In fall of 2018, crews are scheduled to paint steel, install street lights, and finish paving roadways. MassDOT said they’re about three months ahead of schedule, as of right now.
The entire project should be complete by January of 2019.