SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Drivers are noticing faster commute times through 91 in Springfield.
The end is near in the reconstruction of I-91 in Springfield. MassDOT’s most recent update has the highway in full use by this February with the project complete by next fall. Construction has been expedited on several occasions to get it done early. You’ve enjoyed the most recent results of that with an additional lane opening on 91 South, and major on-and-off ramps reopening just in time for Thanksgiving travel. Those were:
- Birnie Avenue Connector on-ramp to West Columbus Avenue
- Exit 6 off-ramp from I-91 South (to Union Street)
- Union Street on-ramp to I-91 North
- Exit 7 off-ramp from I-91 South
- West Columbus Avenue on-ramp to I-91 South
On Thursday, 22News saw construction crews working on the on-ramp to 91 North at State Street. That’s now expected to open in January instead of the spring.
One of the major inconveniences that still remains on this construction project is the closure of Exit 3 onto 91 North. Drivers coming from Connecticut and Longmeadow are required to get off of the highway and drive through part of Springfield on East Columbus Avenue before getting back on the highway.
Still, drivers are slowly noticing progress and faster drive times. “It needed to be done, they’re doing it, and it’s coming out very nicely,” said Bill Malloy of Springfield. When asked if it was worth the tax money, he told 22News, “They’re coming in under budget. It had to happen too so it’s great it is happening.” Malloy attends the MassDOT informational meetings when they’re held in Springfield on I-91.
The contractor has an added incentive to finish early. There’s a $50,000 reward for every day the project is completed ahead of schedule, up to $9,000,000.
The $148,000,000 project is funded 80 percent by federal tax money and 20 percent by state tax money.