NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Drivers prepare to take alternate routes this week to avoid construction on I-91 through Hampshire County.
Monday marked the first day the right-side travel lanes will be closed on both the northbound and southbound sides. The 6 miles of construction stretches from the East Street overpass in Easthampton to Exit 21 in Hatfield.
Between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., crews will be out on the roads repaving the pavement and repairing the bridges on both the northbound and southbound sides. The work is part of a larger, $13-million project, expected to be completed this October.
MassDOT blocked off one lane, on each side, Friday, bringing traffic to a standstill for miles. Bob LaPre travels from Connecticut to Northampton every day, and told 22News, “It must have been backed up 10 miles. I was just waiting there and sitting there like it’s a parking lot, for at least half an hour.”
MassDOT’s roadside message boards in Holyoke and Deerfield will provide real-time updates, but drivers like Jesus Rosa of Holyoke said it’s not enough. “Traffic volume is way too high during the day for us out here going to work,” says Rosa. “They should do it at night, 11-3 or something like that.”
Construction is subject to change without warning depending on the weather. Drivers should expect at least a 10-15 minute delay, but it could be longer. MassDOT urges drivers who use I-91 in Hampshire county to find another way to their destinations that don’t involve the highway this week.