SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Phase 2 of the I-91 reconstruction project in Springfield has officially begun. 22News looks at whether the ride is any smoother, now that drivers are traveling on the newly constructed bridge deck.
Part of the upper deck opened up Sunday and drivers are finally able to see and ride along the newly reconstructed lanes of I-91 North bound. Traffic has been shifted from the outer lanes to the newly paved center lanes.
These drivers heading Northbound on I-91 are the first cars to be on the upper deck, since its reconstruction. Crews have rebuilt the inner lanes of the bridge deck on the elevated portion of I-91 in Springfield and have begun work on the outer lanes. This means the middle lanes of the highway, which have been closed for months, are now back open.
Drivers coming from 91-south will still travel on the old deck, for most of the ride, before transitioning to the new deck, according to Ralph Romano from MassDOT.
The ramps that crews closed in stage 1 will remain closed during stage 2, while new closures will also take effect starting Sunday night at 9. MassDOT will close I-91 North at exit 6, which will reopen at 5 o’clock Monday morning. This closure will allow crews to pave, conduct barrier work, paint and prepare for Phase 2.
MassDOT has also closed exit 9, which will remain closed through spring 2018.Starting Monday and Tuesday, crews will also close exit 1A from I-291 West to I-91 South. That exit will remain closed from 8 o’ clock at night, until 5 o’clock the following the morning. During that time, crews will pave the road.
Drivers will experience several detours, which could impact your commute.
Donna Latney of Springfield said “I hate those detours, sometimes you have to go so far, just to get on the highway, that’s another downside. So I’ll be glad when they open up all the ramps again, so it’s a quicker access to get onto.”
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.
The entire I-91 reconstruction project is expected to be completed by January 2019. Stay with 22News at 6pm. We’ll show you how drivers are adjusting to the smoother ride.