MassDOT will provide additional opportunities to learn more about the project and construction plans. To stay informed of the latest construction activities and traffic advisories please sign up for email updates.
Effective Monday, October 5, MassDOT will close a portion of the Birnie Avenue Connector. View detour routes and maps under the Traffic Management section, below.
MassDOT's contractor, the Joint Venture of White-Schiavone, began construction work in early July. This first phase includes utility work, intersection improvements and bridge deck repairs with nightly lane restrictions. On Sunday through Thursday nights through fall 2015, one or two lanes on I-91 north and/or southbound will be closed to allow the contractor to mill out the existing pavement and repair the concrete deck. All lanes will reopen by 5:00 AM the next morning. For additional details, read answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and review the Traffic Management section, below.
I-91 South: Birnie Avenue Connector Closure Effective October 5
Effective Monday, October 5, MassDOT will close a portion of the Birnie Avenue Connector for the I-91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project. This closure is required so the contractor can safely build a temporary off-ramp from I-91 South for use during the next major stage of construction, which is anticipated to occur in early winter 2015. Local traffic on Birnie Avenue and highway traffic taking Exit 11 off I-91 will follow one of three detour routes. View the Detour Maps
- To reach Downtown Springfield: Continue south on Birnie Avenue and turn left onto Arch Street. Turn right onto Main Street (State Route 116) and then right onto Liberty Street. Turn right onto East Columbus Avenue and then turn left onto Emery Street. Turn left onto West Columbus Avenue, then continue to East Columbus Avenue. Turn right onto Boland Way and immediately turn left onto West Columbus Avenue / Hall of Fame Avenue.
- To access I-291 eastbound: Continue south on Birnie Avenue and turn left onto Arch Street. Turn right onto Main Street (State Route 116). Turn left onto Liberty Street. Turn left onto Chestnut Street, then take a slight right onto the Ramp to enter I-291 eastbound.
- To access I-91 southbound from Birnie Avenue north of the Exit 11 off-ramp: Head north on Birnie Avenue and turn right onto Wason Avenue. Turn left onto Main Street (State Route 116), which becomes Center Street in Chicopee. Take a sharp right onto the ramp to I-391 southbound. Merge onto I-391 southbound, then merge onto I-91 southbound.
Signage will be in place indicating the detour routes. These detours will be in effect until the new, temporary ramp is complete in early winter 2015. MassDOT will also install a temporary signal at the intersection of Route 20 and the I-91 southbound off-ramp.
Through-traffic will be maintained between Birnie Avenue and Route 20 westbound toward West Springfield.
New Speed Limits Effective August 18
On August 18, MassDOT implemented new speed limits in the work zone for the I-91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project. Signs are posted and speed is reduced from 50 to 40 miles per hour (MPH) in both directions on I-91 approximately between Route 20 / Plainfield Street (northern limit) and Broad Street (southern limit). The speed limit is reduced to 45 MPH approaching this 40 MPH zone. View a map showing where the new speed limits are in effect.
The new speed limits are enforced by the Massachusetts State Police for the project duration. A speeding ticket within the work zone comes with a double fine. Public safety is paramount and these restrictions will protect motorists and those working in the construction zone on I-91.
Closure of West Columbus Avenue between Hampden Street and Boland Way
A portion of West Columbus Avenue, between Hampden Street and Boland Way, near the Memorial Bridge in Springfield, has been under construction since late July. The road was closed to traffic on August 10. This closure is necessary to allow the roadway to be widened and serve traffic more safely once the Viaduct rehabilitation is fully in progress. View a map of the closure.
To access West Columbus Avenue near the Memorial Bridge when the road is closed, please follow the detour:
- From Hampden Street, turn left on East Columbus Avenue. Turn right onto Boland Way. Turn left onto West Columbus Avenue/Hall of Fame Avenue.
All entrances to the North Parking Garage will remain open during this period.
Ongoing Lane Closures on the I-91 Viaduct
Overnight lane closures of the I-91 Viaduct remain possible for deck repairs. On Sunday through Thursday nights through fall 2015, one or two lanes on I-91 north and/or southbound will be closed during overnight hours to allow the contractor to mill out the existing pavement and repair the concrete deck. If necessary, Friday and Saturday night closures are also possible.
The following overnight lane closures on the I-91 Viaduct in Springfield are in effect through fall 2015 to prepare for major construction:
- Sunday night: single lane closures, 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, double lane closures, 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM
- Monday through Thursday nights: single lane closures, 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM, double lane closures 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM
- Friday nights (if necessary): single lane closures, 10:00 PM to 12:00 AM, double lane closures, 12:00 AM to 7:00 AM
- Saturday nights (if necessary): single lane closures, 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM, double lane closures, 10:00 PM to 9:00 AM
- Sunday night: single lane closures, 8:00 PM to 12:00 AM, double lane closures, 12:00 AM to 5:00 AM
- Monday through Thursday nights: single lane closures, 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM, double lane closures 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM
- Friday nights (if necessary): single lane closures, 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM, double lane closures, 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM
- Saturday nights (if necessary): single lane closures, 6:00 PM to 12:00 AM, double lane closures, 12:00 AM to 9:00 AM
All lanes will reopen by 5:00 AM the next morning. As work nears the north end of the viaduct, overnight closures of the I-291 on-ramp or off-ramp may be necessary. Additional notices will be provided in the event these closures are required. After repairs are completed, the roads will be repaved and restriped.
Those traveling through the area should expect delays and should reduce speed and use caution. Due to the presence of uneven pavement, motorcycles should use caution.
Future Traffic Management Phases
Long-term construction will take place in two phases requiring traffic shifts. Generally, the number of travel lanes on the viaduct will be reduced by one in each direction due to ramp closures.
Regional traffic will be maintained on the existing bridge and local traffic will be maintained on the surrounding city streets, including East and West Columbus Avenues. Traffic will be managed during the deck replacement through a combination of lane closures and shifts to establish work zones on the interior and then exterior of the northbound and southbound viaduct to complete the work.
In addition to the lane reduction on the viaduct, ramp closures will be needed through the work area. Exits 6 and 7 on I-91 southbound will be closed and traffic detoured to a temporary ramp to be constructed north of Exit 8 to provide access to downtown Springfield via West and East Columbus Avenues. The on-ramps to I-91 northbound from both State and Union Streets will also need to be closed. I-91 northbound access will be provided via East Columbus Avenue, with I-291 access provided via a detour off of East Columbus Avenue to Liberty and Dwight Streets. The Birnie Avenue Connector and Route 20 Connector to I-91 South will also be closed and traffic will be detoured via local roads.
About The Project
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is undertaking the Interstate 91 Viaduct Rehabilitation Project to replace the existing deck of the bridge, which is in poor condition. The project is the result of several years of planning and valuable input from a wide variety of stakeholders. The project has been designed to reduce the number of traffic stages and keep construction duration to a minimum. Once completed, the I-91 viaduct rehabilitation project will reduce annual maintenance costs, increase safety and accessibility on this busy interstate, and ensure long-term serviceability.
The southern limit of the project includes I-91 northbound and southbound, just south of State Street. The northern limit of the work is in the vicinity of the I-291 interchange ramps. Rehabilitation of the various on- and off-ramps between these limits and the I-291 ramp structures is included in this project. For more details, see the Deck Replacement Details Map
The completed bridge cross-section will be similar to the existing bridge width, with a wider left shoulder, three travel lanes and a wider right shoulder. During construction, there will be one travel lane north of the I-291 ramps, while two lanes will be maintained on the viaduct in each direction, with occasional exceptions possible. In addition to the bridge and highway improvements within the limits of the viaduct, MassDOT is proposing bridge drainage system enhancements that will improve water quality in the Connecticut River. Other improvements will include new lighting on the viaduct, the upper levels of the north and south garage, and the Columbus Avenue railroad underpass.
Upcoming Meetings/Projected Schedule
MassDOT hosted a public information meeting on September 24 in the Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, MA, to provide an update on major construction planned for Winter 2015/16. You can read the presentation, FAQs handout, and the meeting agenda under Public Meeting Documents below. Future public information meetings will be announced on this page.
You can read the results of a recent online survey on travel and traffic patterns, which will help MassDOT assess potential detours and improvements.
Public Meeting Documents
- Public Information Meeting, September 24, 2015
- Construction Kickoff Public Hearing Presentation, June 25, 2015
- Project Update Presentation, December 3, 2014
- Public Meeting, February 25, 2014
- Design Public Hearing, May 20, 2014
- Bridge Design Completed - June 2014
- Highway Design Completed - June 2014
- Environmental Clearance Issued - July 2014
- Design/Bid/Build Contract Awarded - April 2015
- Notice to Proceed - May 2015
- Preliminary Work Begins - July 2015
- Stage 1B Traffic Shift, Lane and Ramp Closures Begin - Winter 2015/2016
- Stage 2 Begins, Closures Continue - Late Fall 2016
- Full Beneficial Use of I-91, Lanes and Ramps Reopened - Late Fall 2017
- Substantial Project Completion - Late Fall 2018
- Field Completion - February 2019
The elevated viaduct carries Interstate 91 (I-91) through Springfield, with the Interstate 291 (I-291) Interchange to the north and State Street to the south. I-91 has an Average Daily Traffic volume of approximately 75,000 vehicles per day, with 90,000 vehicles using the I-91/291 Interchange. The viaduct is the primary north-south route between Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, and it experiences extensive vacation traffic during the weekends in the summer and winter.
The existing viaduct was built in the late 1960s and generally consists of a concrete deck slab supported on steel girders. The girders are supported by steel pier caps, column piers, and footings with pile foundations. Several rehabilitation projects were performed on the structures over the past 25 years; however, in recent inspections, MassDOT found that the bridge deck needs to be replaced.
The project involves replacing the concrete bridge deck with full depth concrete deck panels, painting of all structural steel, replacement of the bridge bearings, improvement of the bridge drainage and highway lighting, miscellaneous structural steel repairs, improvement to the traffic signage on the structure and various other safety improvements in the immediate vicinity of the bridge.
For more information, email the project team at I91viaduct@state.ma.us or call 413-562-0569.